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This economist thinks the Canadian housing market could heat up next year — when pigs fly

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Economists are rolling out their 2019 forecasts for the Canadian housing market, and one in particular doesn’t have high hopes for where the market is headed in the new year.

According to Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC, there could be plenty of good news in store for the Canadian economy in 2019 — but the housing market won’t be part of it.

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“A lot of good things can happen,” he writes, in his most recent note. “Maybe the pipeline issue will be resolved, maybe business investment will pick up dramatically, maybe the US and China will become friends again, and maybe the housing market will turn a corner and….maybe pigs will fly.”

While some industry watchers had written that the housing market might be stabilizing earlier this fall, a particularly rough set of November activity numbers has Tal saying that the market still has a long way to go before it returns to its status as a boon to the Canadian economy.

“With home sales in Toronto and Vancouver falling by 15 and 43 percent year-over-year respectively in November, the housing market is far from ‘stabilizing’ as the Bank of Canada is suggesting,” he writes. “In fact, we are in the midst of an adjustment in both markets with the high-rise segment of the market the next shoe to fall.”

While the relatively more affordable condo market has so far managed to continue posting month-over-month increases in sales and prices, the low-rise segment in both of these major cities has been struggling all year.

All told, both Tal and his colleague Royce Mendes believe that the housing market will continue to dampen the Canadian economy in 2019.

“We still believe that housing will be a drag on GDP next year, contrary to the Bank of Canada’s last set of projections,” writes Mendes in his most recent note. “Another soft print would reinforce our revised forecast that a pause in rates over the next few months looks likely.”

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Covid-19 altering Canadians’ housing needs: RBC

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Amid a pandemic-driven shift in demand as well as a surge in new listings, the Canadian housing market remained strong in August, RBC Economics reports.

Citing preliminary data from local real estate boards, RBC said that markets in many areas of the country remained “red hot” in August.

“But the bigger story might be that Covid-19 is now prompting more people to sell,” the report said, noting that new listings surged in urban centres such as Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

“We think this in part reflects the pandemic altering the housing needs of many current owners — who are opting to move, something they might not have considered just a few months ago,” it said.

RBC noted that the Toronto market saw new listings jump 57% year over year in August, powering a 40% increase in home sales.

Sales were up more than 20% from July’s near-record levels, it said.

“Clearly, [that] market has fired on all cylinders this summer, making up for the major disruption caused by Covid-19 in the spring,” RBC said.

The primary drivers of sales activity and higher prices were low-rise homes, including single-detached homes, RBC reported.

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RBC’s customer base makes it a favourite of cyber attacks – security experts

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Royal Bank of Canada is among the most targeted institutions by cyber attacks due to its broad customer base, according to an analysis by Palo Alto Networks.

From December 2019 up to present, cybercriminals have been establishing malicious pages disguised as websites by major companies to conduct phishing attempts and other similarly invasive attacks.

RBC ranked third in the most spoofed domains list, more than streaming giant Netflix and professional networking portal LinkedIn. PayPal and Apple ranked first and second, respectively.

“When you look at the broad customer base that RBC has, it makes sense, especially when you compare it to some of the other big names,” said Jen Miller-Osborn, deputy director of threat research at Palo Alto Networks. “These attackers are going after [domains] where they can make the most money, so they’re focusing on these organizations that have really broad customer bases because that really ups the number of potential victims.”

In an interview with BNN Bloomberg, Miller-Osborn outlined what consumers should be looking out for to filter our fraudulent emails.

“Typically, the ones that are going to be scam-related are trying to invoke some sort of emotional response,” Miller-Osborn said. “So they might say something like ‘Someone tried to change your password, click here to say whether or not that was you,’ or ‘Click here to confirm this charge on your statement,’ or ‘We’ve locked your account for strange activity.’ Essentially, things that will make people anxious and will make them want to click first, and not take a step back and pause to think, ‘Is that really the kind of email that my bank would usually send?’”

Other red flags include misspellings and basic grammar errors in the message, especially the sender line.

“Attackers try to closely mimic domain names, so you might see the number zero substituted for ‘o’, or a one substituted for the letter ‘l’. Little thing like an extra ‘s’ or ‘c’ in the name. These things, people tend to glance over very quickly and not notice.”

Miller-Osborn said that these measures should be done in concert with the most effective step in deflecting a spoofing attempt: Calling the bank and asking them if the email that they supposedly sent was legitimate.

 

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Queen confirms new home at Windsor Castle with Buckingham Palace for ‘selected events’

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The Queen will be returning to Windsor Castle in a matter of weeks, with Buckingham Palace only used for ‘select events’.

Her Majesty and her husband Duke of Edinburgh will first spend time privately at Sandringham when they leave Balmoral next week, Buckingham Palace confirmed.

She had been spending summer at her retreat in Aberdeenshire amid speculation that she would not return to the capital amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson said: “The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will depart Balmoral Castle during the week commencing September 14 to spend time privately on the Sandringham Estate.

“Subject to the finalisation of the autumn programme, Her Majesty’s intention is to return to Windsor Castle in October and to resume the use of Buckingham Palace for selected audiences and engagements.

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