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Wednesday , 23 April 2014

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Construction industry feeling “very bullish” for 2014: OCS

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The outlook for Ontario’s construction industry in 2014 is “very bullish,” with more contractors expecting to do more work this year than last year. The Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) just released its annual survey of industrial, commercial and institutional construction contractors and the optimism in the industry is “above average,” the highest it has been since 2011. That positive outlook is especially marked in the GTA, the OCS says, mainly due to work forecasts in the commercial, industrial and engineering sectors. Contractors expect to do more work in each of the major construction sectors, with commercial, engineering and high-rise residential leading. Less optimism was seen regarding the institutional sector, which ... Read More »

Signs of spring: Canada Blooms and the National Home Show

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Right about now many of us desperately need signs that winter will eventually end and spring will arrive in our city. Fortunately, several signs of spring’s impending arrival are about to appear. This weekend marks the return to Daylight Savings Time, a sure sign that spring is in the offing. Say goodbye for another year to darkness at the supper hour. And next weekend, two of Toronto’s favourite shows return: Canada Blooms and the National Home Show. If you’ve been pining for the garden or longing to get to work on a do-it-yourself project in your home, this is the time and place to get the inspiration you need to ... Read More »

US debt default would be bad, but how bad?

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There has been speculation as well as some fear-mongering concerning the possible effects that a government default on the national debt would have on the US real estate market. The head of the National Association of Realtors testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs today and urged Congress to raise the debt limit “in a timely manner” so as to avoid a “severe and drawn out recession.” NAR president Gary Thomas said that a default by the government would be “devastating” for homeowners because their most valuable asset would lose value. Homeowners could see dramatic increases in interest rates and tighter credit standards, he said. Entire ... Read More »

Real estate firm and mortgage brokerage create one-stop shop

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A Toronto realtor, Right At Home Realty (RAH), announced today that it has teamed up with a major mortgage brokerage, Dominion Lending Centres (DLC). The arrangement, says RAH, will provide its clients with “enhanced mortgage and financial services and products.” Right At Home, by the way, claims to be the largest independently owned real estate brokerage in Canada. The press release about the move has the usual “we are excited” language and hyperbole about being the “largest” and being “extraordinary” and standing out above the others. That’s the way they write these things. But the DLC blurb at the bottom does remind us of a very good point regarding brokers’ ... Read More »

IKEA and UN unveil new shelter concept for refugees

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It’s a story of one of the world’s biggest private companies and biggest NGOs coming together to tackle one of the world’s biggest problems. Challenged by the United Nations to come up with a better form of housing for millions of refugees around the world, Sweden’s home furnishings giant IKEA has produced a prototype shelter that is now testing in African refugee camps. If the shelter works as well as its designers hope it will, the design will be made available to other companies for production and commercialization. They could start deploying by early next year. It seems a natural fit: a company with decades of experience creating modular, relatively ... Read More »

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