After fuelling Canada’s economy through the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate market is showing signs of weakness as home prices fall and bidding wars dissipate.
It’s welcome news for prospective buyers hoping for a better price. But as the busy fall season nears, realtors and economists are at odds over how long the pricing slide will last and how low it will go.
“The fall is going to be interesting because we’re going to see probably more buyers jumping into the market and you don’t need a ton more buyers to provide a little bit more stability to prices,” said John Pasalis, president of Realosophy Realty Inc. in Toronto.
“Just a little bit of a bump in demand could be the difference between homes selling in three, four weeks versus selling in two weeks or selling a lot faster.”
The average home price is still above pre-pandemic levels, but increasing mortgage rates and inflationary pressures are weighing on the market.
When pandemic lockdowns began in March 2020, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board said the average home price in the area — one of Canada’s hottest — sat at $902,680. Last month, it was $1,074,754, a one per cent hike from July 2021, but a six per cent drop from June 2022.
The latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) showed prices hit $629,971 in July, down five per cent from $662,924 last July. On a seasonally adjusted basis, it amounted to $650,760, a three per cent drop from June. When pandemic lockdowns began in March 2020, the average national price was $543,920.
The association forecast the national average home price will rise by 10.8 per cent on an annual basis to $762,386 by the end of 2022 and hit $786,252 in 2023.
But some economists are anticipating an even greater price reduction.
In June, a trio of Desjardins economists said they expected the average national home price to fall by 15 per cent between its February high — $817,253 — and the end of 2023, but because “we’re almost there,” they adjusted their forecast in August to predict a drop between 20 and 25 per cent.
“Home prices continue to fall and have further to go before they find a bottom,” said Randall Bartlett, Helene Begin and Marc Desormeaux, in a report released July 11.
“That said, we still believe home prices will end 2023 above pre-pandemic levels nationally and in all 10 provinces.”
In anticipation of a drop in prices, agents have noticed prospective buyers sitting on the sidelines of the market in recent months, while sellers come to terms with the fact that their homes won’t fetch as much money as they would have at the start of the year.
Lori Fralic calls it a “stalemate.”
“We are seeing lowball offers,” said the Vancouver agent with Keller Williams Realty VanCentral.
“There’s lots of bargain hunters out there who are throwing out offers but if they don’t have to sell, a lot of sellers are saying, ‘no, sorry, not taking it.”
It’s a change from the torrid pace of sales and frenzied bidding wars seen earlier in the year and late last year.
Much of the shift is attributable to mortgage rates, which mirror fluctuations in interests rates and can eat into buying power.
The Bank of Canada increased its key interest rate by one percentage point to 2.5 per cent in July in the largest hike the country has seen in 24 years.
Economists foresee the increases continuing and Fralic said they’re already encouraging people who don’t need to buy immediately to hold off.
She’s seen a drop in prices in B.C., but said it’s not as much of a decrease as many expected.
“If people are thinking (prices) are going to plummet, I don’t think that’s accurate,” she said.
“If you look at the 10-year average of Metro Vancouver, housing prices are way up and if they do dip, they might dip slightly and come back up. There’s always been sort of a steady incline with dips along the way.”
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said the composite benchmark price for the region — often Canada’s hottest — sat at more than $1.2 million in July, a roughly 10 per cent increase from July 2021 and a two per cent drop from June 2022.
“It’s anyone’s guess how much prices will fall,” Sherry Cooper, chief economist at Dominion Lending Centres, said.
Markets, she said, tend to be very localized and the surges or drops some see may not be mimicked in others.
For example, she said Alberta has not seen the slowdown many other Canadian markets have because its energy sector is much stronger than it was in the past.
But Cooper noted home sales activity have declined very sharply in the Greater Toronto Area, the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area and in parts of British Columbia around Vancouver.
“It’s the markets that experienced the 50 per cent increase in home prices that have seen the biggest correction, and that’s what you’d expect because those are the most expensive homes in Canada with the largest outstanding mortgages.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2022.
Canada has picked a new ambassador to China – CTV News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tapped Jennifer May to be Canada’s new ambassador to China, filling a nearly year-long vacancy in the key diplomatic post.
The government announced May’s appointment on Friday, after sources told CTV News and other outlets on Thursday that May—who speaks Mandarin— had been selected to take on the position and that China had signed off on Canada’s pick.
“I am deeply honoured to take up this important post on behalf of Canada and Canadians,” May tweeted on Friday.
In taking on this new role, she’ll become Canada’s lead on stickhandling a fraught relationship with China and will be responsible for advancing business and economic ties between the two countries, as well as “standing up for democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law,” according to the release from Trudeau’s office.
May, who until August was Canada’s ambassador to Brazil, joined Canada’s foreign affairs department more than 30 years ago. Over her career, May has held a series of positions, including executive director of defence and security relations, director of Eastern Europe and Eurasia relations, and has she served in Bonn, Hong Kong, Beijing, Vienna, Bangkok and Berlin.
“A dedicated public servant, Ms. May’s many years of diverse experience on international missions, and her deep understanding of Asia, will serve to manage this important bilateral relationship and advance Canadian interests in China,” Trudeau said in the statement.
Canada has been without an ambassador to China since the end of 2021, when Dominic Barton moved out of the Beijing offices.
Canada has an embassy in Beijing, as well as consulates general in Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
Asked by CTV News a few months back what the holdup was when Canada hit the six-month mark without an ambassador, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly’s office had pledged a representative would be named in “due course,” saying officials continued to engage with China at the “highest levels.”
At the time, former ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques said that the notable absence was an indication that the federal government “does not understand” the value of a strong diplomatic presence on the ground.
“Having an ambassador gives you intelligence… because here’s a person who can have access to high-level [information] that other people at the embassy can’t,” he said. “You are depriving yourself from all that useful information.”
Barton publicly announced his resignation on Dec. 6, 2021, just months after helping to secure the release of former diplomat and entrepreneur Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
The two men were arbitrarily detained and held in a Chinese jail for more than 1,000 days. Their arrests are widely seen as retaliation for the Vancouver arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition request.
Those events launched what would become nearly three years of icy relations between Canada and China.
May’s appointment comes just ahead of Canada marking the one-year anniversary of the two Michael’s release.
It was late on the night of Sept. 24, 2021 when Trudeau made a national address, announcing that Kovrig and Spavor had boarded a plane in China with Barton, and “they’re on the way home.”
With files from CTV National News Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier, CTV National News Producer Mackenzie Gray and CTVNews.ca Producer Sarah Turnbull
RCMP ‘did their best’ in response to N.S. mass shooting: federal Justice Department
HALIFAX — The RCMP’s response to the 2020 shooting rampage that left 22 Nova Scotians dead was far from perfect, but police did their best, the federal Justice Department said Friday.
During the final day of public proceedings at the federal-provincial inquiry into the mass shooting, Lori Ward, general counsel for the federal Department of Justice, said there’s always room for improvement for all policing agencies.
“No response to a critical incident of this magnitude could be perfect, but when this crisis hit, the RCMP showed up, did their best and acted with courage, determination and dedication,” Ward said.
It’s difficult, she added, to separate what was known when the killer was at large on April 18-19, 2020, from what has been uncovered in the years since the tragedy. While hindsight is a valuable tool when used to learn lessons and make changes, it “can also impede a fair and objective evaluation of decisions made in real time.”
On the night of April 18, 2020, a man disguised as a Mountie and driving a car that looked exactly like an RCMP cruiser started killing neighbours and strangers in rural Portapique, N.S.
Ward said she is aware of the criticism levelled at the RCMP for allegedly dismissing witness accounts of the marked police car that the gunman was driving during the 13-hour rampage. She said the idea that the killer could have built such a car himself was beyond reasonable comprehension and was unlike anything police had seen before.
When the RCMP were sent photos of gunman Gabriel Wortman’s replica police cruiser the morning of April 19, 2020, it was initially viewed with “disbelief and incomprehension” by all members, Ward said.
“To assert that (RCMP) should have continued to search for a car identical to their own as opposed to turning their minds to alternatives like decommissioned cars is to view the events through the lens of someone who has now been familiar with the existence of the replica car for more than two years,” she said.
Ward, who at times before the inquiry had tears in her eyes, highlighted that among the “problems and failings” of the RCMP in the aftermath of the shootings was the delay in discovering some of the killer’s 22 victims.
Harry and Cory Bond, the sons of Peter and Joy Bond — a couple murdered in Portapique, N.S., the night of April 18, 2020 — started hearing from acquaintances the next morning about shootings near Cobequid Court, the road where their parents lived.
The summary from the inquiry into the mass shooting says it was about 18 hours after the killings started before an RCMP officer found the Bonds’ bodies inside their home.
“The anguish felt by the families of those victims at the thought of that lapse of time is unimaginable,” Ward said, adding that the delay is among the things the RCMP “wishes it could go back and change.”
To close out the final day of public inquiry proceedings, the three commissioners thanked all those who participated for their contributions and the public for its engagement.
A final report detailing recommendations from the inquiry will be released March 31, 2023.
Commissioner Leanne Fitch said that the inquiry has heard commitments from RCMP leaders and other “institutional representatives” that they will be open to the recommendations and are prepared to receive them.
“We are encouraged by these commitments and call on policymakers, institutions, community groups and members of the public to take action based on the coming recommendations,” Fitch said.
The commission of inquiry said it has conducted interviews with more than 230 people, including 80 RCMP officers, and has released 31 summaries of evidence — known as foundational documents — alongside more than 3,800 supporting materials and exhibits. As well, more than 900 members of the public shared their experiences of the mass shooting through the commission’s online survey.
Members of the public may submit suggestions for recommendations through email, mail or over the phone until Sept. 30.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Lyndsay Armstrong, The Canadian Press
Jason Kenney, soon out as Alberta premier, pokes fun at himself in speech
Jason Kenney, in one of his last speeches as Alberta’s premier and United Conservative Party leader, riffed at the microphone Friday, drawing laughs as he poked fun at himself and pretended to brush off a call from the prime minister.
“This is clearly not a UCP caucus meeting,” Kenney joked as delegates gave him an ovation in Calgary at the Alberta Municipalities convention.
He then looked to the moderator and said, “Too soon?”
Kenney will be replaced as party leader and premier on Oct. 6. He announced in the spring he was leaving after open challenges to his leadership from party members and a lukewarm 51 per cent vote of support in a review.
In his speech, Kenney lauded the accomplishments of his government and the province, which is once again gushing with oil and gas revenues just months after its economy was pancaked by the COVID-19 crisis.
As Kenney spoke, he got a call on his phone. He let it go to voice mail, saying, “Sorry, Justin. I’ll call back later.”
As delegates laughed, Kenney shrugged and added, “I got nothing left to lose.”
Kenney said his government did what it set out to do after winning the 2019 election. He said while oil and gas revenues have been the engine of the recovery, other policies have helped.
He noted his government slashed the corporate income tax, reduced needless and duplicative regulations, streamlined business approval processes, laid the groundwork to expand in growth areas such as high-tech and hydrogen, added more opportunities to teach skilled trades, and introduced tax incentives to lure more film and TV productions.
“You’re looking at something in the range of $90 billion of capital investment in this province over the next decade alone. This is huge,” he said.
Kenney joked that he had tried — and failed — to land a part in one of those film projects, opining, “I guess I’m proof that politics really is showbiz for ugly people.”
The premier also cautioned municipal leaders to keep their wish lists within reason, given that while times are good now, they can get ugly again in a hurry due to the mercurial nature of oil and gas prices.
He noted that at one point earlier this year, benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil was selling above US$100 a barrel but is now at less than $80, and fell $4 a barrel in the hours before his speech.
“Don’t imagine that we can wish our way out of fiscal constraints,” Kenney said.
Seven candidates, including four of Kenney’s former cabinet ministers, are running to replace him. The winner will have less than eight months before the scheduled general election in May.
Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley, in her speech to delegates, promised a new revenue-sharing deal with municipalities and an end to UCP policies that led to higher auto insurance rates, school fees and tuition hikes.
Notley said her party would end the rancorous relationship between the government and the doctors that began after Kenney’s government tore up the master agreement with physicians in early 2020.
She received the largest round of applause of the morning after promising her government would abandon the plan to replace the RCMP with a provincial police force in smaller cities and rural areas.
Kenney’s government has been advocating strongly for the change while municipal and rural leaders worry over who will pay for such an expensive transformation.
“I’m not ever going to endorse a plan that sees hundreds of millions of dollars go toward repainting (police) cars and changing the signs on detachments,” Notley said.
“I won’t download new costs onto your constituents or gaslight you about who’s actually going to pay for it.”
This story by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2022.
Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Is AI Art a 'Toy' or a 'Weapon'? – The Atlantic
Tribune's Ruth Lloyd winner of 2022 Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk grand prize draw – Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune
Roger Federer bids farewell, drops final match of career alongside Nadal at Laver Cup – CBC Sports
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Global Media Markets, 2015-2020, 2020-2025F, 2030F – TV and Radio Broadcasting, Film and Music, Information Services, Web Content, Search Portals And Social Media, Print Media, & Cable – GlobeNewswire
Sports16 hours ago
Williams releasing Canadian Latifi at end of season – TSN
Health23 hours ago
Western Health Encouraging Residents to Book Their COVID Booster Vaccine – VOCM
Tech23 hours ago
Netizens flood Twitter with memes as Instagram is down again – The Indian Express
News17 hours ago
Hurricane Fiona less than 24 hours from landfall in Canada – CTV News
Politics18 hours ago
Expectations, domestic politics behind difference in arms pressure on Germany, France – EURACTIV
Business13 hours ago
Ghosting, Not Hearing Back is Your Answer
Sports17 hours ago
Goalie coaches break down Matt Murray’s game, how he’ll fare with Leafs – Sportsnet.ca
News16 hours ago
Canada stabbings will be probed in two public inquests – BBC