This Week’s Top Stories: Canadian Banks Put Aside More Capital To Handle Mortgage Losses, As Toronto Prices Rise

Time for your cheat sheet on this week’s most important stories.

Canadian Real Estate

Ontario And British Columbia Lose Over 13,000 Real Estate Industry Jobs In December
Canadian real estate and related industries squeezed out a small gain for jobs last month. Across Canada, finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (FIRE) industries employed 1,240,900 people in December, up 1,400 jobs from a month before.

Great, right? Not exactly. Two of the most important markets for the industry, Ontario and BC, saw big declines. Ontario’s FIRE industry employed 599,900 people in December, down 6,400 jobs from the month before. BC employed 163,000 in the month, dropping 6,800 jobs from a month before. Overall, the provinces have net gains over the past year, for the industry. However, the size and speed of job losses are noteworthy.
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Toronto And Vancouver Residential Real Estate Permits Make Large Declines
The value of residential real estate building permits dropped across Canada. The total value of permits reached $4.734 billion in November, down 6.86% from last year. Toronto and Vancouver were particularly hard hit. Toronto saw $854 million that month, down 9.3% from last year. Vancouver’s value dropped to $398 million, down 36.27% from last year.
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Canadian Banks Put Aside Over $2.5 Billion For Mortgage Losses Last Quarter
Canada’s chartered banks put away a lot more cash towards the allowance of credit losses. The total set aside reached $2.53 billion in Q3 2019 for mortgages, 6.97% higher than the same quarter last year. To contrast, mortgage debt across all institutional lenders increased 5.4% from the previous quarter. That is, the amount they’re setting aside is growing a lot faster than the general growth of the market.
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Canada’s GDP Growth Is Slowing Down, Dragged Lower By Retail
Canadian households showed another sign of weakness in the latest GDP data. GDP fell 0.1% in October, the first decline in 8 months for the country. The 3-month rolling average was up 0.2%, cutting the 0.4% number from the month before in half. There was a substantial decline in retail trade that dropped 1.1% in October, the largest decline since March 2016. A slowdown in retail tends to have a ripple effect into other industries.
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Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate Prices Soar As Sales Come In Higher Than New Inventory
Toronto real estate prices are ripping higher, as sales squeeze tight inventory. TREB reported the price of a typical home reached $819,700 in December, up 7.26% from last year. The sales to new listings ratio jumped to 125% for the month. When it rises above 60%, prices are expected to rise. The temporary inventory squeeze for the month largely explains the increase.
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