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Overbuilding in Vancouver? New report says long-term home construction needs to speed up

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Photo: Ruth Hartnup/Flickr

A surge in the number of new condos scheduled for completion this year has some experts ringing alarm bells as it would bring more supply to a market that’s already cooling.

Meantime, a building boom continues, as developers are slated to begin selling units at 73 projects for total of 13,975 homes across the Greater Vancouver Area alone this year, according to research by MLA Advisory.

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But a new study might ease some concerns of overbuilding. In a 2019 outlook, a Vancouver-based real estate brokerage suggests that an elevated level of home construction is actually needed over the next decades in order to meet demand for housing in the Lower Mainland.

Rennie estimates homebuilders would need to construct close to half a million units between 2017 and 2041 to keep up with an influx of 1.1 million new residents over that same period.

There is projected demand for an average of 20,500 new homes each year through 2041. In the past two decades, construction has averaged 16,400 units.

To gauge demand, Rennie examined a variety of factors including birth rates and mortality rates, migration levels, and demolitions, drawing from several sources including Statistics Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, BC Vital Statistics, and Metro Vancouver.

“Part of the explanation for future housing demand growing more rapidly than what has been observed historically relates to the pattern of growth in the region’s younger generations, combined with the changing pattern of household maintainer rates for these younger residents,” writes the Rennie team in the report.

The maintainer rate represents the share of people in a specific age group who claim primary responsibility for their household’s finances, as per Statistics Canada census data.

“Another part relates to the long (and increasing) life expectancies of the older generations and the associated high household maintainer rates in these later stages of the lifecycle,” the report continues.

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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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