Connect with us

Real Estate

GM cuts will be painful but better now than during a recession: Don Pittis

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

“It could have been worse,” will be of no comfort to those affected by the shutdown and job losses at General Motors. It has been a shock to affected families and to the communities where plants are closing.

“It’s going to affect the province, it’s going to affect the region,” said Oshawa, Ont., mayor John Henry after hearing that the historic Ontario GM plant that his community has hosted and supported for more than a century will be closing. Thousands of workers will be laid off. 

“If you look out the window right now and look at the weather, that’s the mood in the city of Oshawa,” Henry told CBC Toronto radio host Matt Galloway on an overcast Monday, shortly before GM’s official announcement. 

Silver lining

Despite the devastating impact on individual lives, the stormy grey clouds may have a silver lining. For the economy as a whole, the GM layoffs both in Canada and the U.S. could hardly have come at a better time.

For employees who are able and willing to move, experts in worker compensation said many people who are losing their jobs will be able to command good wages in an economy where many skills are in short supply.

“Canadian employers are indicating that labour shortages are becoming a growing issue,” said Brendon Bernard, economist at Indeed Canada, the online job search company.

Oshawa’s economy will suffer. But GM employees who can move will have better job prospects now than they would during a widespread economic downturn. (Carlos Osorio/Reuters) 

While the automotive sector has been shrinking in Ontario over the last decade, and there will inevitably be damaging spillover effects on an already weakened regional economy, there is still strong demand for skilled manufacturing workers, especially in Quebec and British Columbia.

While previous layoffs have come in waves during recessions, General Motors has made their move not at the bottom of an economic cycle but near the top. And that will make a big difference.

“Recessions are an especially bad time to lose a job,” said Bernard. Right now, unemployment remains at multi-year lows and the number of available skilled workers is actually shrinking.

“In both Canada and the U.S., the share of population reaching retirement age is rising,” he said.

Too cheery?

While GM’s press release may have been too cheery considering the lives of their employees at stake, there is no question that initiating changes now makes the best of something that could have been much worse.

“We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success,” said GM CEO Mary Barra.

Following Western Canada’s energy boom, a high loonie turned parts of Ontario’s traditional industrial heartland into a rust belt as plants closed down leaving workers in the lurch. (CBC)

Making such changes can be dangerous for a company. But continuing to do the same thing in an effort to preserve existing jobs has also proven dangerous, as happened in the U.K. when a failure to modernize led to the domestic auto industry’s downfall.

The theory of creative destruction insists that a strong economy must always be in turmoil, with vigorous companies stealing the workforce of those that are weakening.

One example from the early days of the Ottawa-based online retailer Shopify was when the company, hungry for experienced talent, brazenly scooped laid off employees right off the front lawn of IBM’s Ottawa headquarters, recalled Shopify founder and CEO Tobi Lutke in a 2013 interview.

“Why don’t we get some people out to the (IBM) office and put a recruiting booth out,” he remembers saying.

That’s exactly what they did, and when they were chased off the property by IBM, “luckily there was a government owned sidewalk nearby,” said Lutke.

Facing competition

In fact, with the increasing computerization of cars, the GM transition is part of a continuing move from metal bashing to something closer to what Shopify and IBM do, said Katie Bardaro, chief economist at PayScale, a company that monitors wages in the U.S. and Canada.

Based in Seattle, home town of Amazon and Microsoft, she knows that GM in its quest to create automated and electric powered vehicles will be competing for expensive software and engineering talent.

But she said laid off workers also have good prospects in the current tight labour market. While Canada’s unionized automotive employees are well paid, they are not your grandmother’s kind of automotive factory worker. Instead, she said they are skilled in such things as safety compliance, electronics and the management of computerized machinery.

A display screen of onboard sensors in a Google self-driving vehicle. The most expensive part of auto manufacturing now is technology and software. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

“There are a large number of skills that are far above nut tightening,” said Bardaro.

The current economy is also hungry for experienced white collar workers with a wide range of back office experience including lower level managers, accountants, and engineers who can transfer their skills to other businesses, she said.

“Research has shown that for certain jobs, you actually see a bigger pay increase if you leave your job and move to another job, regardless of whether you left from your choice or you were laid off.”

That’s small consolation for workers now contemplating the uncertainty of losing well-paying jobs they thought were nowhere near an end point. But it’s better than if the news had come a few years from now when the job market isn’t so strong. 

Follow Don on Twitter @don_pittis

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

Editor

Published

on

By

Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

Editor

Published

on

By

The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

Editor

Published

on

By

Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending