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7 charts that explain the Canadian housing market’s autumn sales dip

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On the heels of a warmer summer, fall has brought an activity cool down to almost every major Canadian housing market.

The reason for the dip in sales and prices varies from city to city, but almost all are dealing with the impact of stricter mortgage qualification rules and higher interest rates.

For a closer look at where the market sits heading into the final stretch of 2018, Livabl has rounded up a series of charts to give you the perspective you need on the current state of affairs.

1. National home sales took a dive







What’s going on here: The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) tracked national home sales over the past year.

The takeaway: Sales fell 1.6 percent month-over-month in October, the second consecutive month of cooling activity. CREA notes that, while the market is still stronger than earlier this year, sales are well below year-ago levels.

2. BC sales activity continues to struggle







What’s going on here: The British Columbia Real Estate Board tracked seasonally adjusted sales activity in the province over the past 18 years.

The takeaway: It’s been a rough year for the BC housing market, and October wasn’t much better. Cities are struggling to adjust to stricter mortgage rules, a foreign buyers tax, and rising interest rates.

3. Toronto home sales are stabilizing







What’s going on here: The Toronto Real Estate Board tracked the sales-to-new-listings ratio for the Toronto market over the past three years. A ratio of between 40 to 60 percent is considered balanced, with readings above and below indicating a sellers and buyers market, respectively.

The takeaway: The market remains firmly in balanced territory, with sales falling and listings rising slightly in October. While the market seemed to be inching back into seller’s territory in August, October’s reading shows that that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.

4. The low-rise market is struggling







What’s going on here: Scotiabank Economics used CREA data to chart the price movement of single-family homes in the BC Lower Mainland, Greater Toronto, Montreal and Calgary areas, over the past three years.

The takeaway: Nearly every market saw a dip in low-rise prices last month, with the exception of Toronto, where prices inched upwards. For months, the low-rise market has struggled, as buyers flock to the relatively more affordable condo market.

5. National actual activity is down







What’s going on here: CREA tracked actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity over the past year.

The takeaway: Activity was down 3.74 percent in October, below year-ago levels but still in line with the 10-year average.

6. Prices also took a hit at the national level







What’s going on here: CREA tracked the actual national average sales price over the last year.

The takeaway: The average price dropped 1.53 percent year-over-year to $496,800, reflecting an overall dampening of activity last month.

7. Even Montreal home prices are levelling off







What’s going on here: RBC Economics used CREA data to track the MLS Home Price Index for Montreal from 2006 to 2018.

The takeaway: Prices in the city have been steadily rising ever since 2015, boosted by a strong job market, but things began to level off in October, a potential sign that the market’s banner year is coming to a close.

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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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