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Real estate market trades in greed during the COVID crisis – NOW Toronto

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Plus, bursting Toronto’s social bubbles, John Tory watching and Sarah Cooper’s Trumpian triumph in reader mail this week


A gathering of greed

Re Toronto Real Estate Being Over Priced And Over Valued (NOW Online, October 3). Much as I like living in this city, it still lags way behind other world-class cities. Vancouver is even worse in this regard, but the scenery makes up for that, even though it’s obscured by clouds for several months of the year. But recent trends taking place in the real estate market smell like a gathering of greed at work by realtors and sellers alike. How sad.

Marvin W., From nowtoronto.com

Gambling on more pandemic excitement

Glenn Sumi’s Report From Inside A Reopened Ontario Casino (NOW Online, October 2) is right on. I too went to the Brantford casino and it was like going to see someone in prison. Not that I have done that, but it was a very isolating feeling once you are inside. There was also a limited choice on slot machines. I won’t be going back for a while. There was no excitement at all. 

Catherine Bristol, From nowtoronto.com

John Tory appointment for vacant Karygiannis seat?

Re Jim Karygiannis Removed From City Council For Good (NOW Online, September 24) Sometimes, it turns out, the entitled establishment isn’t above the law. But it takes dogged persistence to achieve that. Here’s for a by-election to replace Karygiannis, not a John Tory appointment.

Eric Mills, From nowtoronto.com

The case against universal basic income

In the ongoing debate about Universal Basic Income (NOW Online, September 19) some, including letter writer Paul Marsh (NOW October 1-7), would have us believe that poverty can be reduced or even eliminated by UBI and that it is the “real solution” to income inequality. UBI is not a solution. The real solution is an equitable distribution of the vast wealth produced in Canada, and this will not be the result of some government program.

Ted Turner, Toronto

Bursting Toronto’s social bubbles

The recommendation by Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa that people not get too close unless they live in the same household (NOW Online, September 28) may be unfair to those who live alone. The government needs to provide guidance on how those who lawfully meet more than two metres apart can collapse the distance without living together. De Villa’s recommendation could potentially be more restrictive than the federal suggestion to wear masks when having sex.

Bruce Couchman, Ottawa 

No sympathy for COVID rule breakers 

Sorry but I can’t sympathize with people of any age going to bars and parties during this time. (NOW Online, September 25) It makes zero sense. I’m pushing 40, I live with my husband and child, but I’m still lonely as hell. I suffer from depression and anxiety, which is exacerbated by the fact that I miss my friends and family. But as an empathetic, intelligent person you suck it up with the realization that all of this will be over a lot more quickly if we all lay low and follow the rules. Young or old, we all know that going out and socializing with large groups puts others at risk, and can be deadly. 

Andrea D., From nowtoronto.com

Sarah Cooper strikes back on Trump

Bryan B. writes that Sarah Cooper is a “one-trick pony” (NOW Online, September 23). Not so fast. I’m one of those who dislikes Trump. My loathing has been building since the 80s when he took over as the slum lord of his father’s properties, then the failures in New Jersey. How does anyone bankrupt two casinos? As for Cooper, she has struck gold with Trump and she’s going with it. It’s easy to be cynical but Alec Baldwin also came out of oblivion impersonating the president. 

Gary Schumacher, From nowtoronto.com

letters@nowtoronto.com · @nowtoronto


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Cape Breton University to honour physician and real estate tycoon – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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SYDNEY, N.S. —

An oncologist and a real estate mogul will be this year’s recipients of honourary degrees from Cape Breton University.

Dr. Ronald MacCormick, oncologist, and Louis J. Maroun, real estate, will be presented with their honourary degrees during the university’s fall convocation set for Nov. 7.

“Both Dr. MacCormick and Louis J. Maroun have represented our island in their respective careers and they have impacted thousands of Cape Bretoners; one in life-saving cancer care and one in international business and philanthropy,” said David Dingwall, university president and vice-chancellor.

MacCormick is the chief medical oncologist at the Cape Breton Cancer Centre.

Dr. Ronald MacCormick, oncologist. CONTRIBUTED
Dr. Ronald MacCormick, oncologist. CONTRIBUTED

 

He completed his medical training at Dalhousie University and his specialty training at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. His highly-reputable medical practice and his role in developing the state-of-the-art regional cancer center has impacted patients from across Cape Breton Island and parts of mainland Nova Scotia. 

“Although I was not born in Cape Breton, both my parents are from here and I have spent the vast majority of my career here and raised a family here. My connections to Cape Breton Island and the people I care for are deep and I am a proud promoter of Cape Breton,” said MacCormick.

Maroun was born and raised in Sydney and holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of New Brunswick and is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Considered one of the most prolific executives in national and international real estate transactions, Maroun first began his career in real estate in 1982 after seven years with the Nova Scotia provincial government.

He has built a highly-notable career and has been dedicated to his philanthropic work with such charitable organizations as the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation, the Canadian MS Society, Casting for Recovery Canada and Cape Breton University’s Shannon School of Business. 

“I credit my Cape Breton roots with giving me the drive, ingenuity and determination to succeed in my business career. It also taught me the value of caring for each other during adverse times, which led to my desire to give back to my community,” said Maroun.

Cape Breton University has been awarding honorary degrees since 1989.

The fall convocation will be celebrated through a virtual platform and to view the ceremony, visit www.CBUConovcation2020.ca.

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The Niagara Real Estate Trends You Need to See – RE/MAX News

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How could the Niagara real estate market be better off today than it was a year ago? It’s just one more thing to add to the growing list of unprecedented phenomena dotting the 2020 timeline. The Canadian economy may be feeling the sting of pandemic-related business closures and job loses, but the housing sector is booming from coast to coast. Every segment of the industry, from the condominium market to the luxury niche, is performing well through the COVID-19 pandemic. Niagara is no exception.

Even before the coronavirus public health crisis, Niagara had been an attractive place to plant roots. Big-city dwellers may have also wanted an excuse to migrate to the southeastern region, but work and the amenities of major metropolitan cities prevented the move. With changing consumer trends and societal shifts unfolding today, many families now have their eyes set upon this municipality that blends suburban charm with city culture.

So, just how strong has the Niagara real estate market been in recent months? Several trends are emerging across the region, from declining inventories to ballooning demand. Niagara could be one of the hottest markets in Ontario real estate heading into 2021.

The Niagara Region Real Estate Trends You Need to See

According to the Niagara Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest data, residential home sales activity surged at an annualized rate of 37.2 per cent in August, totalling 978 units. Prices also experienced double-digit gains in August, rising 15.3 per cent to $482,600 from the same time a year ago.

The other important development was the average days it took to sell a home – which was 35 days in August 2020, down from 43 days in August of 2019.

Terri McCallum, President of NAR, attributed the robust growth to steady inventory levels and multiple offers on listed properties.

Despite the steady increase in property values, Niagara remains one of Ontario’s most affordable markets, according to the 2020 RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report. For a long time, a large chunk of demand for Niagara real estate had been driven by retirees. However, with more professionals working from home, remote workers have been elevating demand and taking advantage before housing prices increase even further.

But how much more is the Niagara real estate market expected to grow? The RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report estimated that Niagara real estate could increase as much as six per cent in the remainder of 2020, which is roughly in line with broader Ontario real estate market performance in the final quarter of the year.

What Is Driving the Niagara Real Estate Market?

Niagara is another community benefiting from the growing trend of families leaving major urban centres and planting roots in small towns. Whether it is due to fears over hyper-dense cities or employers introducing work-from-home policies, people are choosing to live in areas other than Toronto and Hamilton. This allows them to save money on housing and enjoy more square footage for their dollars.

Like nearly every other market in Canada, Niagara is seeing a flood of homebuyers amid historically low interest rates. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the Bank of Canada (BoC) slashed interest rates to nearly zero per cent. Further, the Bank lowered the conventional five-year mortgage rate to below five per cent. Put simply, borrowing has never been cheaper, so homebuyers are taking advantage of this accommodative monetary policy and jumping into the market or upgrading their living space.

The lure of the Niagara region is undeniable; it is not hard to see why it remains a favourable destination for tourists and residents alike. Beyond hosting one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Niagara’s rich cultural community and natural sights offer enough to keep you busy year-round:

  • The city boasts 101 wineries that churn out delicious Chardonnays, Gamays and Pinot Noirs.
  • The region’s long summers and moderate winters are perfect for enjoying the 42 conservation areas, like Ball’s Falls.
  • Farms and farmers’ markets offer up some of the best produce in the province.
  • The many different festivals, including the Grape and Wine Festival, the Niagara Jazz Festival, and, of course, the Shaw Festival have historically been well-attended by tourists and local residents.

Is Niagara part of the near-term cash injection from impetuous borrowers who have decided to flee the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area following the height of the pandemic? Or is the Niagara Region’s booming housing market part of a long-term trend? Indeed, Niagara’s trends are consistent with so many municipalities within the southeastern part of Ontario, many of which are projected to keep expanding for many years to come. Based upon its strong appeal and sound market fundamentals, the Niagara real estate market has more room for growth as we edge towards 2021.

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Canadian Real Estate Is Becoming More Bubbly According To The US Federal Reserve – Better Dwelling

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The world’s largest central bank is seeing the warning signals for Canadian real estate get brighter. US Federal Reserve (US Fed) updated their exuberance indicators for Q2 2020. Their measures for Canada show recent acceleration over the past two quarters. There was a brief period in the data where it appears Canada almost came back to reality. In the first quarter of this year though, buyer’s became more exuberant. 

Exuberance Is Not A Fundamental

First, let’s quickly run through the concept of exuberance. Exuberance is the state of being excited. When used in economics, it means emotion and excitement is the driving mechanism. If a buyer is said to exuberant, they are buying not based on any fundamental reason – but rather their emotional reasoning. In other words, they’re paying more based strictly on the fact they think they should be paying more. Not because any fundamental basis is driving the valuation higher. 

Exuberance doesn’t mean markets can’t or won’t go higher. Markets driven by an emotional state are more vulnerable to correction though. If buyers aren’t using fundamentals, then a sudden change in emotion means they need to discover the actual price floor. That’s sometimes a ways down.  

Canadian Real Estate Becomes More Exuberant

Canada is seeing exuberance accelerate over the past few quarters. The indicator reached 1.89 in Q2 2020, up from 1.56 during the same quarter last year. The market has seen two consecutive quarters of acceleration. 

Canadian Real Estate Buyer Exuberance

An index of exuberance Canadian real estate buyers are demonstrating, in relation to pricing fundamentals.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Better Dwelling.

Canadian real estate has been consistently in this level for years, but not as many as some people want you to think. It first breached the critical threshold in Q1 2015, and hasn’t fallen below that level since. There’s been a few periods where it almost has, which have been followed by policy moves to prop up the market. Technically the market has only been exuberant for half a decade. Although that may feel like forever, it’s not really that long. 

The Federal Reserve warns this indicator doesn’t tell us when we’ll see a correction, just the likelihood of one. After 5 quarters above the critical threshold, the Reserve believes markets will require a correction. The longer this trend persists, the further detached the market is from fundamentals. This means a larger correction will be required, whether in terms of falling prices or inflation that kills the real value. 

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