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Vancouver new-condo sales have actually picked up, bucking larger market cooldown

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As resale prices and sales activity march lower overall in Vancouver, the number of new condos sold climbed last quarter, according to a new report from Urban Analytics.

The real estate-research firm, which gathers data directly from builders, developers and their marketing agencies, counted 3,447 sales of new condos and new townhomes throughout Metro Vancouver in the third quarter of this year.

The tally is up from the 3,254 transactions observed in the previous quarter and largely the result of specific regional demand.

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“The primary reason for the quarterly increase in sales was strong demand in the suburban sub‐markets south of the Fraser River, where investor and entry-level demand for low rise condominium product remained strong,” reads the report, authored by Michael Ferreira, managing principal of Urban Analytics.

Despite the recent sales rally, activity is still down from year-ago levels. In the third quarter, townhome transactions declined 30 percent on a year-over-year basis, while concrete-condo sales fell 21 percent annually. Year-to-date sales of all new multi-family dwellings in Metro Vancouver declined by 14 percent compared to the same nine-month period in 2017.

Selling pre-construction condos has also gotten more difficult lately, Urban Analytics suggests. “Media reports about slowing market conditions, particularly in the resale sector, are also causing some buyers to delay their purchase decisions as they wait to see if prices in the new home sector will drop,” says Ferreira.

Supply has been piling up as a result, the firm notes, and there were 4,478 unsold units in Metro Vancouver last quarter, a quarterly increase of 44 percent. This has led to increased competition between builders, and Urban Analytics sees this trend persisting. “The increased amount of competitive supply being released to the market over the coming months combined with the softer demand will likely put additional moderate downward pressure on achievable sales values,” writes Ferreira.

So far, prices are off 5 to 15 percent from the market’s peak roughly around the beginning of the year, depending on the housing type and location, Urban Analytics estimates. For example, the report estimates new concrete condos on the CAmbie Corridor command average sale prices of $1,500 per square foot, while developers of new townhomes in North Vancouver are having trouble selling inventory at an average of $900 per square foot.

“Buyer urgency levels have dropped considerably among most buyer groups given the increasing amount of competitive supply in the marketplace [and] the number of actively marketing projects competing with one another in a given area,” notes Ferreira.

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New home? Prepare for the unexpected

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(NC) Buying a house, getting married or having your first baby are all major life events that are likely to affect your finances. But whether you’re in the midst of a major life event or not, it’s important to check in on your finances regularly to maintain good financial health.

Your financial health encompasses things like your spending, savings, borrowing and future financial plans. It also means dedicating a set amount of savings for unexpected future events. It can even include optional credit protection insurance, such as TD protection plans, to help cover your debt balances in case of death, a covered critical illness or total disability.

Even though it can be tough to think about the unexpected, life is unpredictable and it’s important to plan for the unexpected. Find more information at td.com.

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Mortgage pitfalls to avoid

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(NC) Throughout life, you may have moments where you’ll make a large purchase or invest in a costly item, like your family home. But whether you’re in the market for your first new property or already have a mortgage, leaving this asset unprotected can be costly.   

Insuring your housing financial debt, as well as debt for other big-ticket items like a new boat for your lakefront cottage or keepsake jewelry like an engagement ring, is a smart investment in your well-being.

To help protect your debt balances like a mortgage, your bank may have optional credit protection insurance products.

“Your home is one of your biggest assets, yet illness can happen at any stage of life. Worrying about your mortgage when the focus should be on health isn’t a situation anyone would wish for,” explains Shirley Malloy, vice president at TD. “Fortunately, we offer mortgage protection to provide coverage for your outstanding balance should you face a covered critical health event.”

Mortgage protection can be purchased whether you’re in the process of applying for a mortgage or already have a home financing solution. But what about protection options for credit card debt?

“Given the unprecedented circumstances of this year, many Canadians are trying to plan for the unexpected to protect themselves and their finances,” says Malloy. “TD balance protection plus is an optional product designed to help you deal with your credit card payment obligations in the event of a covered event, such as loss of employment.”

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Is your internet too slow? It’s probably not you

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(NC) We all know the aggravation of a school lesson that just won’t stop freezing or the family video call that looks more like a photo montage. And, as we adjust to the impact of COVID-19 on our day-to-day, that slow connection can have frustrating consequences.

Working from home and learning remotely, both need fast, stable internet, something not enough Canadians have yet. Even if you have fast devices in your home, if the infrastructure in your area is not optimal, your connection won’t be either.

Right now, cities have the infrastructure needed to ensure access. But rural and remote communities are hugely underserved, with fewer than half having high-speed internet, and fewer than a third of households on reservations have high-speed connections.

Fortunately, change is coming. The Universal Broadband Fund is backing projects across Canada right now to ensure the reliable, high-speed internet connections families need to work, study, access services online, and safely stay in touch with each other.

The fund existed before COVID, but as a response to the pandemic, its timetable has been moved up by four years to a target of 98 per cent of Canadians with high-speed internet access by 2026. With the faster pace, at least 90 per cent of us should be connected by the end of 2021.

The fund is focused on improvements in rural and remote communities across Canada to fix the disconnect between internet access for urban and rural households.  This means more remote work opportunities, better access to remote learning and safer access to healthcare, no matter where you live.

It’s not just for good connections at home, either. The improvements mean much better access to mobile networks on highways between remote communities. The result is better, safer navigation and access to emergency services for your family, even on the road in the middle of nowhere. Mobile projects will be focused on serving Indigenous communities and the roads leading to them.

The shape these improvements will take in your area will depend on where you live. Canada is huge, and its communities are hugely diverse, with diverse needs. Keep an eye out for local projects — they’re a small part of something much bigger.

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