Daily Market Update

Consumer confidence split across Canada; employment is the issue… Calgary sees a boom in demand for inner city living… Should realtors always reveal a home’s hidden secrets?… And commercial property market is hot in Vancouver but vacancy rates rise again in Halifax.

Daily Market Update
Canadians’ confidence split
For the third month in a row the Conference Board’s report on consumer confidence has shown a decline in Canada. The biggest issue is jobs but here there is a big split depending on which side of the country you’re in. On the Atlantic coast there’s a pessimistic view of the availability of jobs while in the West there’s a more positive outlook. The national picture is that just over 20 per cent believe that the jobs market will be worse in the next half-year, while 15 per cent are expecting it to improve.
Calgary’s inner city boom
Calgary is seeing growth in the demand for inner city living, with new home starts in the city ‘centre’ up 35 per cent in a year according to CMHC figures. Last year there were 287 new detached home starts and experts say there is an increasing demand for living closer to downtown. Although there is a premium to pay for inner city property, this is offset to some extent by the lower costs of reaching amenities and workplaces especially where there are good public transit links.  Read the full story.
Gruesome backstories of properties will always come back to haunt you
There are many differences between the Canadian and US real estate markets but here’s one you may not have thought of. In the US realtors are legally obliged to inform prospective buyers of any suicide or murder that took place in the property in the last three years, assuming they are aware of it. In most of Canada, there is no such law, however would it be better to just ‘fess up’ from the start rather than get caught out later. We could discuss the morality of not revealing the gruesome history of a ‘stigmatized property’ but the fact is that buyers usually find out anyway; there’s always the neighbour only too happy to share the local gossip. Then of course, there’s the Internet. A bit of canny ‘Googling’ can reveal a lot about a property’s hidden secrets and there’s even a site called Housecreep.com that allows prospective buyers to find out if their dream home is concealing a nightmare. Read the full story.
Commercial sales pick up as owners cash in on high values
Commercial property is often a long term investment as yields from rentals are frequently better than other investments but even here there comes a time to sell. In Richmond, Vancouver, there has been a flurry of sales activity recently, especially on the highly sought after No.3 Road. With prices reaching a high, realtors says there has been a domino effect of property owners choosing to sell having seen others banking high returns. It seems there’s no shortage of purchasers, probably fuelled by the wave of redevelopment opportunities in the area. Read the full story.
Halifax offices staying vacant
Supply is outstripping demand in the Halifax commercial sector. Real estate consultancy Turner Drake & Partners say that many of the older commercial property in the city may be repurposed as residential if vacancy rates continue their upward trend. Last year saw an overall vacancy rate of almost 12 per cent, with the Bedford suburb recording the highest rate; almost a third of office space was unoccupied.  New office construction continues but tenants are frequently moving from older or smaller units in the city and the trend is for clever use of space, meaning smaller floorspace is required. Read the full story.