Why real estate prices continue to rise despite the pandemic

[CBC - September 20, 2020] Opinion - Mark Ting, CBC's finance columnist, on the connection between unemployment, government aid, and real estate. Last May, I wrote an opinion piece titled "Time to buy? What the pandemic means for Vancouver's real estate market" where I explained that historically for every one per cent rise in unemployment there is a four per cent decrease in housing prices. However, this is not what has happened during the last several months. Between February and August this [...]

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How the pandemic has put flexibility front and center in home design

[Washington Post - September 17, 2020] Six months ago the coronavirus pandemic turned the entire nation into homebodies. Now architects, builders and interior designers are addressing the pain points that emerged when our homes became our offices, schools and entertainment venues. It’s a little too soon for completely new model homes to be built that take the new normal into account. Still, incremental changes in floor plans and interior design have been made that point the way to the future. “While there are [...]

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Rental sector navigates perilous times

[Globe and Mail - September 9, 2020] It’s been a year fraught with uncertainty and challenges for landlords and tenants, and it’s far from over. The data has yet to come in on the exact vacancy rates, or the number of tenants who haven’t been able to pay rent since the pandemic began. And the landscape changes yet again as government lifts a ban on evictions and rent increases. As of Sept. 1, landlords were able to evict tenants for failure to [...]

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Vancouver market on the uptick, but worries persist

[Globe and Mail - September 16, 2020] In downtown Vancouver, the condo market has softened considerably, with prices coming down as more units come onto the market. And although the detached house market is robust, the number of houses for sale could increase once the people who took mortgage deferrals have to start paying again. If cash is tight, they might choose to unload their houses, increasing supply. The key word for the current state of the housing market is uncertainty. [...]

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Bankruptcies expected to increase in fall months

[Toronto Sun - September 13, 2020] A lot of Canadians are in financial trouble because of COVID-19 closures. Maybe you’ve lost your job or your business as a result of the pandemic. You’re not alone. COVID has wiped out businesses big and small, pushing companies into insolvency. Although personal bankruptcies have not yet increased — partly thanks to the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and other government financial help — a significant spike in financial turmoil is expected when those supports disappear. Nobody could [...]

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B.C.’s devastated tourism industry faces bleak outlook after summer season that never was

[CBC - September 7, 2020] Some businesses have tried to adapt, others face prospect of closure As summer winds down, tourism operators across the province are looking at staggering losses from a season constricted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Royce Chwin, the president of Tourism Vancouver, says 98 per cent of his group's members have reported a drop in revenue — at 50 per cent or more — for the first half of this year. "With the borders being shut down, either the U.S. or the [...]

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B.C.’s projected deficit soars to $320M due to COVID-19 pandemic

[News 1130 - August 31, 2020] VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The province is looking at a $320 million deficit instead of the $200 million surplus forecast just six months ago, according to the latest financials from the B.C. government. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the province into millions of dollars worth of emergency spending to help British Columbians weather the health crisis, all while revenue from taxation, Crown corporations, and natural resources has been down. "The pandemic led to lower tax revenues, [...]

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Bank regulator changes rules for mortgage deferrals starting now

[CBC - August 31, 2020] As of July 30, there were roughly $170 billion in outstanding residential mortgage deferrals for big banks Canada's federal banking regulator is phasing out requirements around mortgage deferrals for homeowners hard-hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions says deferrals granted starting Monday and until the end of September will be able to get special capital treatments for loan and premium payments for up to three months, rather than six. For banks, [...]

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COVID-19: Use CERB aid extension to plan for tax, debt obligations, says credit counsellor

[Vancouver Sun - August 29, 2020] The transition from CERB to EI will squeeze down the incomes of many British Columbians, but not planning for debts and taxes will come with consequences, says the Credit Counselling Society’s Scott Hannah British Columbians who are relying on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit face some tough decisions when the program ends Sept. 27 that credit counsellors worry they aren’t preparing for. The concerns start with not accounting for future tax liabilities that will be owing [...]

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CERB is transitioning to EI. What does that mean?

[CBC - August 21, 2020] New benefits are introduced and EI is being revamped. Here's what you need to know The federal government announced on Thursday that the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) will be extended an additional month and then transition to a modified employment insurance (EI) program. The changes will come into effect on Sept. 27 and will be in place for one year, with three additional programs proposed for those who do not qualify for EI. Here's what you need to know about [...]

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