Report: Canadian job market lacks quantity, quality

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The Canadian economy gained jobs in December after two months of reductions, but overall the employment market has faltered during the past 12 months, according to a CIBC World Markets study.

The report said Canada's job market contains less employment opportunities overall and fewer quality positions. While employment expanded by more than 180,000 positions in 2011, the economy actually lost 55,000 jobs during the final quarter.

"The impact of a softening pace of job creation is exacerbated by a worsening level of job quality in the Canadian labour market," Benjamin Tal, CIBC World Markets' deputy chief economist, said in the report. "From a quality perspective, the surge in self-employment reduces the overall quality of employment, largely due to the fact that, on average, a self-employed person earns 10 percent to 15 percent less than a regular employee." Continue reading

IMF reduces global, Canadian economic growth forecasts

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Many economic experts have warned that global economic uncertainty may negatively impact the Canadian economy and housing market this year. The International Monetary Fund recently projected global growth will reach 3.3 percent in 2012, down from its previous forecast of 4.0 percent.

The IMF said the reduction is the result of a mild recession due to the European debt crises, as it now expects the eurozone to contract by 0.5 percent this year. The IMF predicted Canada will expand 1.7 percent after originally forecasting 1.9 percent growth in September. Continue reading

BoC Governor: Canadian real estate market is “probably overvalued”

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Just days after Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the government is closely monitoring household debt and would intervene if necessary, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney has voiced concern regarding overvalued home prices.

Carney recently said in an interview on CTV that some areas of Canada's housing market are "probably overvalued," and federal regulators could step in if the trend continues.

"We see that in a number of real estate markets in Canada, valuations are at a minimum, firm; in others, they're probably overvalued. So there are risks there. We're watching it closely. We're working with our partners, the federal government, the superintendent of financial institutions," Carney said, as reported by the source. Continue reading

Toronto condo owners selling before potential oversupply

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Several economists have recently commented on the potential oversupply of Toronto's condominium market, as the city continues to build high-rise apartment buildings in record numbers. With supply expected to eventually outweigh demand, prompting unit values to drop, some local condo owners have decided to sell before it's too late.

According to a recent Toronto Sun report, some experts predict the Toronto condo market will experience a significant crisis beginning in 2013. The source examined the case of Eileen Campbell, a 65-year-old Toronto condo owner who has decided to sell her apartment before demand potentially plummets and newer buildings are available.

"In my mind, if there is that much inventory for people to choose from, would they choose (to buy) a brand-new place or a place that's been here for a while?" Campbell told the source. "I'd rather get my equity out now and move onto something else." Continue reading

Expert: Several signs pointing to housing bubble

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Many Canadian real estate experts have debated the current state of the nation's housing market, specifically whether a housing bubble is imminent. In a recent Globe and Mail report, financial columnist Ted Rechtshaffen examined several real estate trends he said could spark a housing crisis.

According to Rechtshaffen, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation is in danger of putting Canadian taxpayers at risk unless mortgage rules are altered. The report said the most significant concern is that the CMHC continues to allow homebuyers to purchase home loans they can't afford, putting them at serious risk if home values decline. Continue reading

More than half of Canadians feel financially unprepared for retirement

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More than half of Canadians don't feel financially prepared for retirement and only one-third have a detailed retirement plan, according to a recent study by ING Direct.

Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents deemed themselves unprepared for post-work life, while only 33 percent said they have a financial strategy for meeting their specific retirement goals. Meanwhile, saving for retirement is unimportant to many Canadians, as 31 percent said they don't include it when thinking about their personal finances, the survey revealed. Continue reading

Report: Vancouver among the least affordable cities in the world

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With the highest home prices in Canada, Vancouver is one of the least affordable cities in the nation, but a recent study found it's also among the priciest metropolitan areas for homebuying in the world.

According to Demographia, Vancouver is the second least affordable city among large English-speaking metropolitan regions, behind only Hong Kong. The report said the average home price in Vancouver was $686,400 during the third quarter of last year, 10.6 times higher than the average pretax household income. Continue reading

Toronto’s economy named strongest in Canada for second consecutive year

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For the second consecutive year, Toronto has the strongest economy among Canadian cities, according to a recent CIBC World Markets report.

Strong growth in housing starts, employment and population has fueled favorable economic momentum in Canada's largest city, as its Canadian Metropolitan Economic Activity Index has reached 23.0, the report said. Toronto's index reading is its highest in more than 10 years.

"What's so impressive about the ranking of Toronto in our current reading is not that the city is once again ranked first among the country's largest 25 metropolitan areas, but the fact that it has been in the top five for more than six consecutive years, with the only exception being the 2009 recession when Toronto’s ranking slipped to seventh place," said CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal. Continue reading

Many Canadians in their 20s struggling financially

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Recent college graduates and other young Canadians are struggling to secure employment and pay off student debt, but many economic experts say there are several ways citizens can begin their post-university life with financial success.

Lise Andreana, an Ontario-based financial planner, recently published a book about how 20-somethings can better manage money and decrease debt. Andreana spoke to U.S. News and World Report regarding her book, the common financial errors young Canadians are making and how the economic landscape is changing for young generations.

"I think a lot of twentysomethings are out there looking for the dream job when really, they need to buckle down and just take a job, get some work, and get started," Andreana told the source. "Use that opportunity while you're living at home to set a timeline for how long you're going to stay, how long you're going to look for the dream job." Continue reading

Housing slowdown could decrease Canadian economic growth

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Canada has recently had the fastest-growing economy among G7 nations, but record-high household debt and a potential real estate slowdown could significantly limit growth this year.

According to a Reuters report, the Canadian economy will likely underperform the United States for the first time in seven years in 2012, as the housing market has become the top domestic concern in the world's 10th largest economy. The report said many economic experts believe the Canadian economy began to shift during the second half of last year.

"It was over the course of the fall as the housing prices just continued to march upwards and debt was growing … It's not sustainable. It won't be sustained. Let's take a breath here," economist Finn Poschmann told the source. Continue reading