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Briefing highlights

  • A look at recreational property prices
  • Canada’s economic growth slows
  • Stocks, Canadian dollar, oil at a glance
  • Black Friday kicks off shorter shopping season
  • Daimler to cut thousands of jobs
  • What analysts are saying today
  • Required Reading

The hills are alive with the sound of music

With songs they have sung for a thousand years

— Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, from The Sound of Music

Canada’s winter recreational property markets are turning in mixed performances.

Indeed, Royal LePage said this week in its latest study of such ski chalets and other properties, price appreciation over the course of a year “varied significantly across the country’s most popular alpine destinations.”

Mont-Tremblant’s village, for example, chalked up the strongest gain in median price for both detached homes and condos, the real estate firm said.

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While the gains were marked, the prices still don’t come close to those in Whistler, B.C., Canmore, Alta., and Ontario’s Blue Mountain.

“Inventory is very low in Mont-Tremblant,” Paul Dalbec, who manages LePage’s Mont-Tremblant Real Estate unit, said in the report.

“When a new property enters the market, buyers line up and offers flood in,” he added.

“This supply shortage in the region has led to an increase in land sales as some buyers are choosing to build over buying a home as what they are looking for isn’t on the market.”

Here’s what it looks like across Canada, according to LePage:

Single-family and condo prices in Canada's largest winter recreational markets

2019 prices and price change over 2018

Province Market Prices (single-family) Price (condo) Change (single-family) Change (condo)
B.C. Whistler $2,391,979 $884,227 -13.80% 5.20%
B.C. Invermere $509,821 $254,266 10.40% 5.00%
B.C. Kimberley $434,500 $259,750 -16.80% 9.80%
Alta. Canmore $906,270 $479,000 -2.00% -2.80%
Ont. Collingwood $525,000 $385,000 8.30% 6.90%
Ont. Blue Mountain $780,000 $369,000 4.00% 4.20%
Que. Baie-Saint-Paul $189,500 N/A 3.60% N/A
Que. Bromont $348,875 $270,000 0.10% 7.40%
Que. Cantley $316,000 N/A -5.00% N/A
Que. Mont-Tremblant (St-Jovite) $233,500 $202,450 1.50% 6.90%
Que. Mont-Tremblant (Station) N/A $322,000 N/A 15.00%
Que. Mont-Tremblant (Village) $583,500 $232,500 37.30% 37.80%
Que. Morin-Heights $310,000 N/A -0.60% N/A
Que. Orford $330,000 N/A 12.60% N/A
Que. Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré $190,000 N/A -2.20% N/A
Que. Saint-Sauveur $283,500 $235,000 -0.50% -13.00%
Que. Sutton $295,000 N/A -14.50% N/A
Que. Stoneham- Tewkesbury $318,000 $190,000 12.60% 18.80%

SOURCE: ROYAL LEPAGE

Saint-Féréol-des Neiges, the region that includes Mont-Sainte-Anne near Quebec City, showed a jump in sales of more than 17 per cent, though a drop in median prices of almost 4 per cent to $197,000 for a single-family home.

“There was an increase in sales in the lower end of the market in the past year compared to the year before, which explains the dip in the median price,” said Sylvie Fitzback, a Royal LePage Inter-Québec broker.

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“Also, the single-family segment in the region is comprised of a majority of townhouses and semi-detached, which in general are less expensive than detached houses,” she added.

“With the arrival of the new Massif Club Med, we expect the Mont-Sainte-Anne area will see an expansion in demographic growth and real estate demand.”

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Economic growth slows

The steam went out of Canada’s economy in the third quarter as growth slowed markedly from the second.

Gross domestic product expanded at an annual pace of 1.3 per cent in the quarter, Statistics Canada said, pumped by stronger business investment and higher consumer spending.

The third-quarter pace was far slower than the second quarter’s 3.5 per cent, and just about what was expected by some economists.

Among the notable tidbits in the Statistics Canada report is that housing investment climbed 3.2 per cent, which marked the fastest since early 2012. This was pushed by construction of new homes, primarily single detached units in Ontario, and higher ownership transfer costs from stronger resale markets in British Columbia and Ontario.

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In September alone, GDP expanded 0.1 per cent, the agency said, as growth in services eclipsed that of goods.

“Consumer spending didn't improve as much as we expected (up 1.4 per cent), but there were hefty gains in business capital spending and homebuilding to offset that, with inventory destocking and exports dropping to keep the headline in check,” said CIBC World Markets chief economist Avery Shenfeld.

“Final domestic demand was a hearty 3.2 per cent, which will for now reinforce the Bank of Canada's view that they have rates low enough to offset the drag from weak external markets,” he added.

“Q3 didn’t end on a great note, with GDP only up 0.1 per cent on the month, matching the prior month, and leaving not much momentum heading into Q4. Over all, a mixed bag, but perhaps a bit better than it looks in the headline given the strength in domestic demand.”

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Markets at a glance

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Ticker

Shorter shopping season

From The Associated Press: The mad scramble between U.S. Thanksgiving and Christmas just got six days shorter. Black Friday once again kicks off the start of the holiday shopping season. But with six fewer days than last year, it will be the shortest season since 2013 because Thanksgiving fell on the fourth Thursday in November, the latest possible date it could be. Adobe Analytics predicts a loss of US$1-billion in online revenue from a shortened season. Still, it expects online sales will reach US$143.7-billion, up 14.1 per cent from last year’s holiday season.

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Daimler to cut jobs

From Reuters: Daimler announced at least 10,000 job cuts across the globe over the next three years after reaching an agreement on its plans with labour unions. It marks the third announcement on cost cuts this week by a major German car company as car makers grapple with huge investments into cleaner and self-driving technologies while demand in China, their biggest market, is falling and a trade war between Washington and Beijing is curbing economic growth. Daimler said management reached an agreement with labour on a variety of measures to cut costs and jobs, including expanding part-time retirement and a severance program to be offered in Germany. The company is also cutting 10 per cent of worldwide management positions. “The automotive industry is in the middle of the biggest transformation in its history,” Daimler said in a statement.

Euro zone inflation speeds up

From Reuters: Euro zone inflation accelerated faster than expected in November on a rise in food and services prices, likely comforting European Central Bank policy makers even if some factors pushing up prices may be only temporary. The ECB has struggled for years to boost inflation, which has undershot its target of almost 2 per cent despite unprecedented stimulus that included negative interest rates, €2.6-trillion of bond purchases and subsidized loans to banks.

BoJ sees holding

From Reuters: Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said he saw no need to expand monetary stimulus now, underscoring the central bank’s preference to save its dwindling ammunition in case the economy takes a bigger hit from heightening overseas risks.

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U.K. consumer borrowing up

From Reuters: British consumers, whose spending has helped drive the economy since the Brexit referendum shock of 2016, picked up the pace of their borrowing for the first time in 16 months in October. The growth rate in unsecured consumer lending increased to 6.1 per cent in the 12 months to October from 5.9 per cent in September, the first increase in the annual growth rate since June 2018, the figures from the Bank of England showed.

German unemployment eases

From Reuters: German unemployment fell in November, suggesting the labour market in Europe’s largest economy is holding up despite weakness in the manufacturing sector. Data from the Federal Labour Office showed the number of people out of work fell by 16,000 to 2.266 million in seasonally adjusted terms. The jobless rate held steady at 5 per cent, slightly above the record low of 4.9 per cent reached earlier this year.

What analysts are saying today

“As with all things retail these days, all eyes will be on Amazon. Last year, Amazon reported Cyber Monday as its single biggest shopping day ever. The record-setting sales will need to continue for Amazon to reach the US$80-billion to US$86.5-billion fourth-quarter revenue guidance it has given investors. Projecting past sales growth forwards, there is no reason to doubt Amazon can have another blowout Black Friday – and record-breaking holiday season. There is clearly some optimism they can do it since Amazon shares have gained 4.5 per cent in just the last five days, reaching a two-month high.” Jasper Lawler, head of research, London Capital Group

“Thanksgiving week is, more often than not, rather slow anyway but this week has been particularly so. It naturally doesn’t help when the economic calendar is so thin and central banks have their house in order, leaving little hope of any action in the final weeks of the year. The result is that we’re left talking about the only subject that could shake things up in what will otherwise be a rather dull December. Clinging onto every tweet and Chinese media report, just in case there’s going to be one last bombshell of 2019. Let’s face it, a [U.S.-China trade]deal is hardly looking likely at this point.” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst, Oanda

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Required Reading

‘Shrinking cities’

There are signs that the inaugural era of relentless Chinese urbanization has drawn to a close, making the country’s skyline a potent symbol of the economic changes sweeping the country. Nathan VanderKlippe reports.

A step closer

Canada’s first bitcoin fund for retail investors is one step closer to listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Alexandra Posadzki writes.

SUVs and money problems

SUVs are flattening everything in their path, including the finances of people who buy them. Personal Finance columnist Rob Carrick examines the issue.

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