Wednesday, May 27, 2009


First-time homebuyers back, LePage says
Derek Abma, Financial Post
Published: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First-time buyers are back in the housing game, and this is a crucial development to strengthening the overall Canadian housing market, a major real-estate company said yesterday. Royal LePage Real Estate Service, in conjunction with releasing survey results of potential first-time home-buyers, said this segment vacated the market late last year but has returned. "When first-time buyers stepped out of the market in the fourth quarter of 2008, at the height of the global recession, their absence was profoundly felt," said Phil Soper, Royal LePage chief executive. According to Royal LePage's survey of Canadians likely to buy a home within the next three years, lower prices were the most popular motivation for considering a purchase, cited as the most important factor by 33% of respondents.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Using reclaimed woods, metal and other materials to create impressive furniture, Dylan Gold's resume includes many accolades but you be the judge; I am sure you come to same conclusion the judges did.

From the Website of Dylan Gold:

"My furniture pieces are intended to combine fine art and function, craftsmanship and creativity, and blur the line between focal point and background in a physical setting."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Canada's recession: deep but short
Bloomberg News
Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Canada's recession, likely its deepest since the Great Depression, may also be its shortest.
Rising home and car sales, unexpected gains in building permits and employment, easing credit conditions and higher commodity prices signal Canada's slump may be nearing an end. Eight of 11 economists surveyed by Bloomberg this month predict the economy will return to growth next quarter.
"It doesn't feel quite like it's over yet, but people are breathing a little bit better," said Russ Girling, president of pipelines at TransCanada Corp., the country's biggest pipeline company, which recorded a 12% rise in revenue in the first quarter.
All but one of the country's five post-Second World War major recessions have lasted at least one year, with the shortest in 1957 at nine months, according to Philip Cross, who tracks the country's business cycles for Statistics Canada.
Canada's economy contracted at a 3.4% pace in the last quarter of 2008 and growth in the first quarter may shrink at a 7.3% rate, the Bank of Canada estimates.
The U.S. recession started in December 2007, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the arbiter of U.S. business cycles. Statistics Canada, which defines a major recession as a slump in which both employment and output post annual declines, has yet to date the start of Canada's recession, Cross said. The Bank of Canada has said the country entered into a recession in the fourth quarter of last year.
No Bailouts
While Canada has suffered from falling U.S. demand for exports, the country's banks have largely avoided credit losses. No government money has been given to any of Canada's 21 banks since global credit seized up in August 2007. The U.S. government oversees about US$200-billion in investments in banks through the taxpayer-funded Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Canada's housing market has also held up better than in the U.S., where prices declined 18.6% in February from a year earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index of 20 major cities. Average resale home prices in Canada dropped at less than half that pace during the same period, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
"We may not be in a recovery, but I think we might be in a position where it's not getting worse, where it's truly plateauing," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a May 8 interview, adding he'd like another "month or two" of data before coming to that conclusion.
Canada's benchmark Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index has posted a 50% gain in U.S. dollars since its low on March 9, compared with the 34% gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index over the same period.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg this month said they expect Canadian growth to rebound at an annual pace of 0.5% in the third quarter and by 2% in the fourth quarter.
"In February, the rapid decline in demand had come to an end and by April, the rapid declines in employment had come to an end," Cross said. "Was that a temporary end or not? We don't know."
While Canada's jobless rate is at a seven-year high of 8%, the economy in April created new jobs for the first time in six months and sales of existing homes rose the most in more than five years. Credit markets are also improving. The Bank of Canada's composite index of financial market conditions is at its strongest since September.
Improved credit markets have allowed companies such as Enbridge Inc., the biggest transporter of oil to the U.S. from Canada's oil sands, to move ahead with the new debt sales to finance operations. Enbridge sold $400-million of bonds last week.
'Cross Our Fingers'
"Our approach is to watch for windows when we think there are opportunities to raise capital funds," said Richard Bird, Enbridge's chief financial officer. "This is a window and let's cross our fingers and hope that it's a trend."
A quick end to the recession would raise pressure on the Bank of Canada, led by Governor Mark Carney, to say it no longer plans to keep its benchmark lending rate near zero through June 2010. The country's central bank projected last month the economy will contract four consecutive quarters, bringing it closer to the average length of the last five major recessions.
"The Bank of Canada will have to revisit their own view of what they will do with interest rates," said Paul-Andre Pinsonnault, an economist at National Bank Financial. "GDP will be stronger than what they are looking for."
A quick end to the recession doesn't guarantee a strong rebound. DBRS Ltd., a rating company, predicts an L-shaped recovery for Canada, which it defines as "a prolonged period of flat or slowly improving performance."
"The earliest I can see an improvement is in October or November," said Jacques Plante, chief financial officer of Hart Stores Inc., a discount retailer. "I can't imagine we'll have anything positive this summer."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Housing market to bottom in '09
By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald
Published: May 19, 2009

CALGARY - Calgary’s housing market is expected to bottom this year and expand in 2010, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
In its Spring 2008 Calgary Housing Market Outlook released today, the agency said total housing starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area will plunge by nearly 68 per cent to 3,700 units compared with a year ago - when they were 11,438 units.
But in 2010, the CMHC is forecasting total starts to increase by 13. 5 per cent to 4,200 units “as economic conditions improve and job creation increases demand for housing.”
The report said that in 2008 multi-family starts reached 7,051 units, the highest level since 1981.
“As this large ramp-up in supply was not met by a commensurate increase in demand, multi-family starts are forecasted to drop by 86 per cent in 2009 to 1,000 units,” said the report. “With the economy improving in 2010, there is potential for a modest recovery with multi-family starts projected to rise to 1,200 units.
“The record condominium construction in 2008 has contributed to weaker starts activity in 2009, as an inventory buildup has held back some new construction,” said Lai Sing Louie, senior market analyst in Calgary for the CMHC. “Many of the projects currently under construction will need to be completed and absorbed before we are likely to see an improvement in highrise condominium starts.”
The CMHC said the rebound in single-detached starts previously expected in 2009 will be delayed until the economy expands.
“The economic slowdown experienced during the fourth quarter of 2008 has continued into 2009, causing companies to resize. In the face of full-time job losses and heightened competition from the resale market, single-detached starts will retreat from 4,387 units in 2008 to 2,700 units in 2009 (down 38.5 per cent),” said the CMHC. “Economic expansion and job growth in 2010 will provide a lift to construction and single-detached starts are projected to rise by 11 per cent to 3,000 units.
“Construction in 2010 should represent the beginning of an expansionary phase, but production will be relatively low by historical standards at only about 40 per cent of the average production experienced in the past decade, which was the strongest decade for single starts on record,” said Louie.
The agency also said the recovery in Calgary’s resale housing market has been postponed due to weaker economic growth and a reduced level of demand.
“Weaker economic activity and job losses will reduce resale activity this year,” said the report.
In 2009, residential MLS sales will reach 17,000 units, a projected decrease of 27 per cent from the 23,136 sales in 2008.
“Low mortgage rates and a moderate economic expansion are anticipated in 2010,” said the CMHC. “With full-time job growth supporting demand and prices stabilizing, MLS sales are projected to rise by 10 per cent to 18,700 units in 2010.”
The average MLS sale price is projected to drop by eight per cent in 2009 to $372,000 from $405,267 last year. This will represent the second consecutive year that the average annual price has declined.
“Provided listings continue to move lower and demand improves, prices are expected to stabilize toward the end of this year,” said the report. “As the economy improves in 2010, an up-tick in demand will support balanced market conditions and will lift housing prices by 2.7 per cent to an average of $382,000.”
The average apartment vacancy rate is projected to rise to four per cent by October 2009, almost doubling the rate experienced in October 2008. The rising vacancy rate will also reduce the average two-bedroom rent from $1,148 to $1,075 per month, the first decrease for this average since the early 1990s.
“In 2010, an expanding economy and job growth will support increased household formation and this is expected to lower the vacancy rate to 3.5 per cent,” said the CMHC. “As the vacancy rate begins to tighten, rental rates will move up with the average two-bedroom rent forecasted to rise to $1,100 per month.”


Shelving shouldn't be a backdrop to the knick knacks, books and items we put on display to map our lives. It is just as important and can make a big impact as well, especially when it is so interchangeable & versatile like the HIVE.

Taken from their website:
2004 // 521Design and GUBI of Denmark are proud to introduce a new shelving system designed by Chris Ferebee. The new system called the Hive.H2 continues the organic forms and versatility of the original Hive Shelving Unit yet employs an innovative manufacturing technique. This technique uses a unique combination of bent aluminum and walnut veneer, creating an ultra slim design yet maintaining strength and a high-tech look from the aluminum core which is complimented by the warmth of the veneer. Another key feature of the H2 is its modularity. Each module can be bought separately allowing one to build a system to suit their needs. The combinations are endless.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Canadian real estate rebounds stronger than expected in April
National Post Published: Friday, May 15, 2009

The Canadian Real Estate Association said this week that the rebound in home sales and prices for April was stronger than expected.
Seasonally adjusted national sales climbed 11.2% from March, the largest month-over-month gain in more than five years. The number of homes that changed hands (34,838), was higher than in any of the prior seven months.
Calgary led the rebound, with a 31% gain in sales over March, followed by Vancouver (30%), Montreal (15%) and Toronto (10%). Sales were up from March levels in 70% of markets across the country. Actual sales of 43,473 in April was down 11.8% from the same month a year ago.
The average sale price of $306,366 is 3.2% below April, 2008's, average. Inventory numbers were down 1.8%, to their lowest level since June, 2006, and 16.4% below the peak in May, 2008. The supply-versus-demand ratio is more balanced now in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Condos seen as attractive investment opportunity
Canwest News Service
Published: Monday, May 04, 2009

More people are seeing condominiums as an attractive investment opportunity than was the case a year ago, according to a survey released Monday.
TD Canada Trust said 44% of respondents in a survey of urban Canadians said conditions had improved over the last year with regard to the prospects of buying a condo for investment purposes. That was up from 21% in a similar survey done last year.
The bank said lower prices and mortgage rates are the main reason people are being drawn to condos as a way to make money over the longer term.
"This is a good time to explore a condo purchase given that mortgage rates are very attractive right now and many condos have dropped significantly in price," Joan Dal Bianco, the bank's vice-president of real estate secured lending, said in a statement
In fact, 43% of the respondents said if they couldn't afford a condominium right now, they'd consider partnering with a friend or relative to buy one for investment purposes.
But there were other reasons than investing people had for wanting to buy a condo. The most popular one, cited by 39 per cent of survey takers, was that condos require less maintenance than house do. The second most cited reason for buying a condo, a 21 per cent, was that they're more affordable than houses.
The survey, done by Angus Reid Strategies, involved 200 respondents in the cities or surrounding areas of Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax between March 30 and April 7.