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These Canadian housing markets took a beating in 2018. What does 2019 have in store?





Photo: James Bomblaes

2018 began with a steep nationwide drop in housing activity. Stricter mortgage qualification rules pushed buyers to the sidelines, as year-over-year double-digit sales decreases became the norm.

Of course, some markets had a rougher year than others. Toronto, with its strong early-2017 performance, had a particularly cool start to the year, as did Hamilton. In the west, the Calgary market is continues to deal with the effects of low oil prices which sunk the housing market in 2015, while Vancouver is still adjusting to a stricter foreign buyers tax that was increased in February.

What does 2019 have in store for these troubled markets? Livabl has combed through the latest forecasts from industry experts, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Toronto should remain stable

With its record performance in 2017, the Toronto housing market became the epitome of the old adage “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” in 2018.

While activity took its steepest dive in the spring of 2017, with the introduction of the Ontario government’s Fair Housing Plan, sales dropped dramatically in January, as the market struggled to adjust to the new mortgage stress test.

Over the summer months, the city began to see a slow month-over-month rise in sales and prices. That’s led several experts — including Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage — to predict a relatively cool, but stable, 2019. Sales were up 6 percent year-over-year in October, while listings fell a slight 2.7 percent.

“The numbers [you saw] in the GTA [in October] are the direct result of strong demand amid relatively limited supply,” Soper tells Livabl.

It’s a sentiment echoed by TD economist Rishi Sondhi, who wrote in his latest forecast that the Toronto housing market would remain balanced in the new year, as strong demand pushed up against deteriorating housing affordability.

“Toronto’s market has been balanced for over a year now, manifesting in slower price appreciation,” he writes. “Strained affordability conditions, exacerbated by rising borrowing costs, will continue to restrain demand.”

Hamilton will cool slightly

The Hamilton market, which has long been a refuge for those priced-out of Toronto, largely mimicked the larger city’s sales trajectory in 2018.

Home sales are predicted to fall 15.9 percent year-over-year by the end of 2018, according to the latest data from Central 1 Credit Union.

Many industry experts are predicting that the cooler period will last well into 2019, while noting that the city’s strong fundamentals will keep things from changing too drastically.

“What you have in Hamilton is a relatively affordable market, that allows those who cannot afford to live in Toronto a chance to own a home, while still commuting to work,” Hamilton-based realtor Mike Heddle tells Livabl. “That’s a trend that’s not going to change any time soon.”

Earlier this year, BMO economist Robert Kavcic named Hamilton one of Canada’s most attractive labour markets, arguing that the city’s strong job market will likely draw prospective homeowners in the new year.

“Given that Toronto has been held back by significant pressure on housing affordability, cities like Hamilton…within commuting distance of Toronto jobs, have served as a release valve,” he wrote.

Calgary oversupply issue to persist

At first glance, there’s something that appears to bode well for Calgary’s ownership housing market: the rental market is tightening. Normally, this has a knock-on effect for home sales. As a vacancy rate trends lower, rents get more expensive due to competition for apartments, and some decide it’s worth it to purchase a home.

This time is different, suggests one expert. Lower oil prices have persistently taken a toll on home sales and prices in Calgary, and even though the rental market looks to be picking up, Keith Reading, director of research for Morguard, recently said it would be 18 months before demand is sufficient to drive rents up.

From there, it would still be a number of years before any meaningful improvements are seen on the resale and new-home markets.

While the Calgary Real Estate Board has yet to publish its final lookahead at 2019, its chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie recently gave Livabl an idea of what to expect.

“The current situation that we’re in is we have an oversupplied market, prices have been trending down, and we just haven’t seen the pickup in the economy — at least in Calgary — as what was expected, so that’s really what we’re seeing leading into next year,” Lurie said in an interview earlier this month.

Vancouver will continue to correct

When it comes to Vancouver’s housing market, the peaks and troughs of various forecasts from analysts vary as wildly as the mountainous landscape surrounding the city.

For instance, credit union Central 1 predicts the median price of a Metro Vancouver home will drop by about 3 percent next year before remaining flat in 2020. “A modest housing price correction is underway in the region triggered by rising interest rates and federal mortgage criteria which is intensified by provincial policy measures,” writes Bryan Yu, Central 1’s Deputy Chief Economist, noting a recent hike to the regional foreign-homebuyer tax and proposed speculation taxes.

Compare that to Capital Economics’ latest analysis: based on rising levels of inventory, activity drying up, and tougher federal mortgage rules introduced back in January, home resale prices could fall 5 percent next year, in the research firm’s estimation.

Perhaps the most dramatic prediction comes by way of Eitel Insights, which used stock market-style analysis to forecast the future of detached home prices in Vancouver. While the benchmark price of a detached home was $1,524,000 last month, Eitel Insights anticipates that number will fall to $1.4 million between next year and 2021 at the latest.

Like Capital Economics and Central 1, Dane Eitel, the owner of Eitel Insights, bases his bearish take on the impact of the federal government’s move at the beginning of the year to extend stress testing to uninsured mortgages. Previously, a borrower could put down 20 percent for a loan from a big Canadian bank and sidestep the test.

While the relative affordability of multi-family dwellings in Vancouver has provided somewhat of a buffer for the pre-construction condo market despite new mortgage qualifying regulations, rising supply levels are expected to put downward pressure on prices in this segment, too. Already, new-home prices are down between 5 and 15 percent, depending on location and housing type, according to Urban Analytics.


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Is getting an MBA worth it? How to make a decision





Obtaining an MBA degree requires a significant amount of investment. You’re not only spending money but investing a large amount of time and effort into it.

While preparing for your MBA, it is important to critically access if the benefits of enrolling in a graduate business school outweigh the costs, according to experts. Your current financial capabilities and commitments are key factors to consider before determining whether applying for an MBA is the right choice for you.

According to experts, one great way to weigh the short-term financial benefits of an MBA is to research the average salary of recent graduates of business schools and compare that figure with the average number of student loan debt.

Of all the ranked business schools that provided salary figures in the U.S. News Best Business Schools ranking, the average starting salary among 2018 graduates from full-time MBA programs was $87,683.88. While for 2018 graduates of full-time MBA program at the ranked business schools, the average debt burden was $51,671.90.

For schools that provided both salary and debt figures, the average salary for MBA graduates was $86,253.72—167% higher than the average debt burden at those schools.

Mike Catania, the founder of the coupon website and a student in the executive MBA program at the University of California—Los Angeles Anderson School of Management, noted that one of the major reasons he chose to attend business school was a strong desire to expand his network.

“I got exactly what I wanted – access to brilliant classmates and faculty that I would never have encountered on my own,” he noted. “It’s difficult to ascribe a value to that, but I look at it as only temporarily intangible – the relationships forged over the next few years will positively affect my opportunities as an entrepreneur moving forward.”

According to a financial ROI report on MBA published by Quacquarelli Symonds—a higher education data, consulting and research company—within 10 years of earning an MBA degree, the average MBA graduates from either a U.S. or international business school had an estimated ROI of $390,751—even after deducting tuition and opportunity costs of attending an MBA program. The report also went further to show that the average decade-long ROI of an MBA graduate from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business is higher than $1 million.

While the financial benefit of an MBA degree is a huge factor to consider, experts also note that there are other non-financial factors to consider, such as if getting the degree would either facilitate career change or accelerate career advancement.

“Often candidates have a career progression in mind – ask whether people who have followed that path have been helped by an MBA,” said Mark W. Nelson, the dean of Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. “Also, consider your personal opportunities for growth. What do you want to work on? Consider how an MBA would help you develop those capabilities.”

For example, with the future of data analyticslooking bright for data scientists, getting an MBA might be what you need to boost your chances of landing a great job.

Another important thing to consider when deciding to pursue an MBA degree is your current lifestyle. It is a venture that requires serious commitments, said Catania.

“It’s just going to eat up so much of your time, and all of the (business) schools make it abundantly clear that this is on par with a job,” he adds.

Also, Nelson noted that an MBA is best suited for individuals who want to begin a major change in their career path. “An MBA is a good path when candidates are looking for a career switch or a significant career advancement,” he said.

However, Elissa Sangster, CEO of the Forté Foundation—a non-profit organization with a mission to increase the representation of women in business schools and corporate leadership positions—warns that an MBA is not necessary for every type of business career.

“You could trick yourself into thinking you need to go and pursue an MBA because, if you’re going to run a yoga studio or you’re going to … open up a car wash or run a food truck, those are all businesses,” she said.

“Getting an expensive MBA degree may not be a smart financial decision for someone who wants to run a small local business, while it could be a strategic move for someone who hopes to start or manage a large, influential corporation.”

According to Phil Strazzulla, an entrepreneur and the founder of two companies in the software sector – Select Software Reviews and NextWave Hire – who earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, he noted that while it is a chance worth taking, it is one that needs to be carefully analysed.

“Chances are, if you’re thinking about getting an MBA, you are an analytically rigorous person who’s done the analysis on whether it makes sense to pay now for future gains in salary,” he said. “And, if you go to a top school, it undoubtedly is. However, the other way I’d recommend thinking about your decision is how it’ll impact your overall happiness.”

Furthermore, SiqiMou, the co-founder and CEO of the tech-driven beauty company HelloAva who earned an MBA degree from Stanford, notes that one of the key advantages of attending a high-quality business school is that it provides exposure to a wide array of career opportunities.

“I would say the advantage of coming to one of these relatively prestigious business schools is that you have a lot of options that are open to you,” she said. “You can go back into finance or consulting types of jobs, or you can also start something yourself.”

Bachenheimer, a clinical professor of management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York City, added that an MBA provides project-based learning activities that allow students to practice solving real business problems.

“An MBA can be much more than the knowledge and skills acquired through coursework; it can truly expand you and your world,” he said.

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Comment se protéger des risques associés à l’utilisation des outils bancaires





La technologie financière est en constante évolution. L’introduction continuelle de nouvelles options bancaires en est la preuve.

Fintech (abréviation de technologie financière) est un terme qui désigne tout type d’innovation technologique utilisée pour soutenir ou fournir des services financiers. Une telle innovation entraîne des changements importants dans le secteur financier, et donne naissance à une gamme de nouveaux modèles d’affaires, d’applications, de processus et de produits.

Si les applications financières vous permettent d’accéder facilement à vos finances personnelles, elles peuvent aussi comporter des risques allant du vol de vos renseignements bancaires, tels que votre numéro de carte de débit ou de crédit, votre nom d’utilisateur et votre numéro d’identification personnel.

C’est pourquoi il est important d’être très vigilent en partageant vos informations personnelles et bancaires en ligne. Saviez-vous qu’en fournissant vos informations bancaires ou de carte de crédit à une application financière, vous pourriez risquer de violer l’accord d’utilisation de votre institution financière?

Ce qui veut dire que, quelles que soient les caractéristiques de sécurité mises en place par une application financière, votre institution financière peut vous tenir responsable en cas de vol et d’utilisation de vos renseignements personnels à votre insu ou sans votre approbation.

Voici quelques conseils pour vous aider à protéger vos informations personnelles et bancaires, ou celles de votre carte de crédit lorsque vous utilisez les applications financières :

  • Vérifiez l’accord d’utilisation de votre banque avant de partager vos informations personnelles et bancaires, ou de carte de crédit à travers les applications financières.
  • Consultez la politique de protection contre la fraude de votre institution financière pour savoir qui est responsable de toute transaction non autorisée par vous-même .
  • Cherchez à comprendre quelles mesures de sécurité sont en place et comment vos renseignements personnels pourraient être utilisés.
  • Vérifiez régulièrement votre dossier de crédit pour voir s’il n’y a pas de demande de crédit que vous n’avez pas faite ou encore une transaction que vous n’avez pas effectuée.

Si vous soupçonnez que vos informations ont été compromises, changez immédiatement vos mots de passe. Examinez vos relevés de compte et de carte de crédit pour y détecter toutes anomalies, et signalez toute transaction suspecte à votre institution financière.

Vous pourriez aussi commander et vérifier votre dossier de crédit.

Visitez le site web de l’Agence de la consommation en matière financière du Canada pour de plus amples renseignements sur les risques associés au partage de renseignements bancaires sur des applications financières à

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Comment agir efficacement en cas de fraude





Chaque année, des milliers de Canadiens perdent des millions de dollars à cause de fraudeurs. Adolescents, aînés, gens d’affaires, tout le monde peut en être victime. Pourtant, seulement 5% des fraudes sont signalées aux autorités.

Si vous avez été victime de fraude, la meilleure chose à faire est de le signaler aux autorités concernées, et peu importe son ampleur. Ne vous sentez surtout pas honteux d’avoir été piégé car vous n’êtes pas seul à être tombé dans le panneau. En rapportant cette fraude, vous allez aider d’autres personnes à ne pas en être victime. De plus, dans la plupart des cas, l’institution financière ouvrira une enquête et vous remboursera l’argent perdu.

Gardez en tête que protéger vos renseignements personnels est essentiel pour éviter la fraude. Voici comment agir si vous suspectez une transaction inhabituelle dans vos comptes :

  • Changez immédiatement votre NIP et signalez la fraude à votre institution financière et au Centre antifraude du Canada. Informez-les également de toute correspondance suspecte que vous recevez au sujet de vos comptes.
  • Lorsque vous communiquez avec votre institution financière, assurez-vous d’utiliser le numéro de téléphone figurant sur votre relevé de compte ou au verso de votre carte de crédit ou de débit.
  • Si vous recevez des courriels trompeurs, vous pouvez envoyer une plainte au Centre de signalement des pourriels. Les escroqueries financières comprennent souvent des offres de vente ou des promotions de produits et services financiers, comme les régimes de retraite, les fonds de placement gérés, les conseils financiers, l’assurance et les comptes de crédit et de dépôt.

Le Bureau de la concurrence du Canada dispose d’un excellent guide appelé le Petit Livre noir de la fraude, et fournit beaucoup d’autres renseignements utiles par l’entremise du Centre antifraude du Canada.

Pour plus d’information, visitez le site web de l’Agence de la consommation en matière financière du Canada qui offre également une foule de renseignements et d’outils pour vous aider à vous protéger contre les fraudes et les escroqueries à

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