Daily Market Update

by Jordan Maxwell19 Mar 2015
Manulife confident in Calgary commercial real estate
In Calgary, Manulife Financial Corp. is saying that it wants to buy what they have, as long as any deals reflect the plunge in oil markets. According to the Calgary Herald, slumping crude prices have forced companies in the province of Alberta to slash jobs and reduce spending for office space. While property owners and energy executives are holding on to their assets for now, the pressure to sell could intensify, said Kevin Adolphe, who leads Manulife Asset Management’s private markets unit. “We are making it well known that we are a purchaser,” Adolphe said in an interview in Toronto, where the company is based. “It usually takes a stress event for people to reset their expectations. We’re having these advance conversations so people know we’re interested.” “There’s a lot of talk about whether this is going to be the same or if this is going to be different,” Adolphe said. “It’s going to be different. Oil prices will stay low for a longer period than the previous declines.”

Landlords are already feeling the pinch as tenants rent out space they no longer need. Subleased space in Calgary increased as much in the first few weeks of this year as it did in all of 2014, according to the Herald.

Rate cut leading to mortgage wars?
Canadian banks have lowered their five year fixed term mortgage to 2.79 per cent in recent days, the second major reduction they’ve made since the Bank of Canada lowered its overnight interest rate to 0.75 per cent in January. According to Global News, it’s one of the reasons that Vancouver’s housing market has surged in recent months. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said total sales in February were 20.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month. They also reported the average price for a single family detached property in Metro Vancouver is now over a million dollars. "These housing are selling 100 to 200 thousand above asking price. As a first-time home buyer, it’s very frustrating,” says Sherlock Yan, Ca mortgage broker for Verico Clear Trust Mortgages. "We’re seeing a lot of people who own houses see how crazy the market is going, and they’re listing their properties, hoping to get way above asking price, which is what’s happening.”

ComFree service registers as licensed broker
ComFree, which began as an alternative to using brokers to sell real estate, has now converted itself into a licensed real estate broker itself. According the Winnipeg Sun, the company announced Wednesday it had become the ComFree Commonsense Network, featuring licensed brokers giving Manitoba customers guidance and support for a flat fee. By becoming a licensed broker, customers' listings will now not only be listed on comfree.com, but also on the popular MLS system via realtor.ca. Clients told us that they loved the ComFree model but that they'd like the option of having their homes advertised on the MLS system for the added visibility. So we listened," said Kim Ewchuk, general manager of Manitoba's ComFree Commonsense Network, in a prepared statement. "Manitoba is a smart, entrepreneurial province that's perfect for this kind of model. "With our help and with this added market exposure, we think homeowners will have the best possible chance at selling their homes, while saving thousands of dollars instead of spending it on real estate commissions." Manitoba is the third province, after Alberta and Ontario, to have a ComFree broker.

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