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Chinese newspaper warns U.S. not to push too hard on trade

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An official Chinese newspaper warned Washington not to demand too much from Beijing as talks on ending their tariff war entered a second day Tuesday with no word on possible progress.

The Trump administration is dealing with an increasingly strong China that has its own pressing needs, said the Global Times, which is published by the ruling Communist Party. It said Washington “cannot push China too far” and must avoid a situation that “spins out of control.”

Negotiators began talks Monday on a fight over Beijing’s technology development tactics that companies worry might hobble global economic growth, but there was no sign either side has changed its stance.

U.S. Presidents Donald Trump launched the trade war in July by hiking tariffs on Chinese goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

He and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 to postpone more tariff hikes on each other’s goods for 90 days while they negotiate. But economists say that is too little time to resolve issues that have disrupted U.S.-Chinese relations for years.

Washington is pressing Beijing for changes including rolling back plans for government-led creation of Chinese global champions in robotics and other fields. Europe, Japan and other trading partners have echoed Washington’s complaints that those violate Beijing’s market-opening obligations.

Chinese officials have suggested Beijing might alter its industrial plans but they reject pressure to abandon a strategy seen by communist leaders as a path to prosperity and greater global influence. They have tried to defuse pressure for more sweeping change by offering trade concessions including purchasing more American soybeans, natural gas and other exports.

“China would need to significantly recalibrate its industrial policies to fully meet the U.S. trade team’s demands,” Nick Marro of the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a report. “The limited policy movement that we’ve seen so far suggests that a game-changing deal remains unlikely.”

As the talks began Monday at the Chinese Commerce Ministry, Beijing complained about a U.S. warship in what it said were Chinese waters, but it was unclear whether that would disrupt the proceedings. Both sides have provided scant information about their discussions.

Tensions haven’t halted talks

The talks went ahead despite tensions over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on U.S. charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.

The American delegation is led by a deputy U.S. trade representative, Jeffrey D. Gerrish, and includes agriculture, energy, commerce, treasury and State Department officials.

Trump imposed tariff increases of up to 25 per cent on $250 billion US of Chinese imports. China responded by imposing penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing customs clearance for U.S. companies and suspending issuing licenses in finance and other businesses.

The Global Times said China’s growing economy means it can “carry out a more intense boycott” of trade with the United States if needed.

President Donald Trump argued that China has not treated the U.S. fairly in terms of trade. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Beijing’s growing commercial and political ties with its neighbours will make it harder for Washington to find “Asian countries willing to stand at its side and help contain China,” the newspaper said.

Still, cooling economic growth in both countries is increasing pressure to reach a settlement.

Chinese growth fell to a post-global crisis low of 6.5 per cent in the quarter ending in September. Auto sales tumbled 16 per cent in November over a year earlier. Weak real estate sales are forcing developers to cut prices.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.4 per cent in the third quarter and unemployment is at a five-decade low. But surveys show consumer confidence is weakening because of concern growth will slow this year.

For their part, Chinese officials are unhappy with U.S. curbs on exports of “dual use” technology with possible military applications. They complain China’s companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though almost all deals are approved unchanged.

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Real Estate

Montreal real-estate prices climbing much faster than Toronto or Vancouver: study

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MONTREAL — The cost of housing per square foot has skyrocketed in Montreal while other cities saw little change over the last year, according to a new national survey.

The study found that condominium prices in downtown Montreal are up 13.5 per cent from last year to, on average, $805 per square foot.

That’s not as high as other cities, but it’s catching up — and Montreal’s rate of growth is outpacing other major Canadian cities.

Toronto’s condo prices grew to $1083 per square foot, an increase of just under 10 per cent, according to the study. In Vancouver, where you can find some of Canada’s most expensive condo prices, rates are down 4 per cent to $1192 per square foot.

To make the comparisons, Canadian real estate giant Century 21 collected data from real estate boards across the country to calculate the home costs per square foot.

“It’s important to compare apple to apples,” said Todd Shyiak, the company’s vice president of operations.

Montreal’s rise was even more explosive for detached homes and townhouses.

Detached houses in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose to $958 per square foot, 40 per cent up from last year.

“It’s wild,” said Century 21 broker Angela Langtry. She says the pandemic raised demand.

“People had a lot of time to figure out they don’t like the home they’re in,” she said. “They all want pools.”

There was a big spike in sales, she noted, following a pause in brokerage during the spring, at the peak of the pandemic.

Experts say the pandemic will push people into the suburbs as they search for affordable housing and home office space.

“A huge portion of our society’s housing needs changed overnight,” said Shyiak. People “no longer need to be 10 minutes from the office.”

He says that could mean less demand for condos in the future. “People want their own front door,” he said.

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Carttera buys prime downtown Montreal development site

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Carttera has acquired a prime downtown Montreal site at 1455 De La Montagne St. which will mark its third development on the thoroughfare.

“We think it’s probably one of the best, if not the best, locations in the whole city,” Carttera founding partner Jim Tadeson told RENX. “We’ve had great success on De La Montagne.”

The two earlier projects are: L’Avenue, a building with 393 residential units, 84,000 square feet of office space and 34,000 square feet of retail that was developed with Broccolini and occupied in 2017; and Arbora Residences, a two-phase development with 434 rental and condominium units in three buildings being built in partnership with Oxford Properties.

Thursday’s latest acquisition, for $48.5 million from 630745 Ontario, is a 31,750-square-foot surface parking lot with flexible mixed-use zoning on the corner of De La Montagne and De Maisonneuve Boulevard West.

The site is near the Vogue Hotel Montreal Downtown, the new Four Seasons Hotel Montreal and high-end retail.

“It’s zoned for up to 203,000 square feet of density, which we’re going to take advantage of,” said Tadeson. “Our vision for the site is a condominium project with some retail.”

Since there is no demolition required and no heritage issues to contend with, Toronto-based Carttera plans to move ahead quickly with the luxury project.

It’s in the concept design phase and Tadeson said it could take six months or more before it’s prepared to make a submission to the city.

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Montreal Has the Hottest Real Estate Market in Canada Right Now

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If you thought Toronto’s real estate market was on fire, it’s time for a second take, because the market in Montreal is the hottest in all of Canada right now.

A newly-released annual report from CENTURY 21 Canada reveals that, following an early-spring decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales numbers are bouncing back and house prices across the country are maintaining their strength. The study compared the price per square foot of properties sold between January 1 and June 30 of this year, compared to the same period last year.

In Toronto and Vancouver, unsurprisingly, prices remain high. But while regions across the country are seeing varied stories when it comes to their housing market fluctuations, Montreal stands out — there, prices have increased dramatically since 2019. While the numbers remain lower than Toronto and Vancouver, that housing market is proving to be the country’s strongest right now.

In Quebec’s largest city, prices have increased significantly since last year, particularly in the downtown detached house and townhouse markets. For example, the price of a detached house in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose 42.14% to $958 per square foot, while townhouses went up 44% to $768, and condos, 13.55% to $805. Comparatively, in Toronto and Vancouver, prices saw more modest increases or, in some cases, even declines.

“Even though real estate in Quebec was not considered an essential service, we have seen strong demand and a jump in prices in 2020,” said Mohamad Al-Hajj, owner of CENTURY 21 Immo-Plus in Montreal.

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