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Business Briefing

Home sales, prices rise sharply in Calgary, Canada's hottest market Add to ...

These are stories Report on Business is following Monday, Nov. 3, 2014.

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Calgary sales, prices up
The hottest housing market in the country is still running strong.

Home sales in Calgary, the heart of Canada’s oil industry, surged by more than 10 per cent in October from a year earlier, while the city’s benchmark price rose by almost as much, up 9.5 per cent.

Sales in the city rose to 2,147, pushed along by condos, according to a report today from CREB, the local real estate board.

New listings rose by almost 16 per cent.

The benchmark price, in turn, jumped to $460,700 from $420,700 a year earlier.

“While all sectors saw unadjusted monthly prices level off and growth ease, year-over-year increases remained above 9 per cent across all categories due to gains achieved this past spring,” the group said.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: “As of October, only 18 per cent of new single-family listings were priced below $400,000 and only 387 remained in inventory by the end of the month.”

Prices, of course, vary by the type of abode.

The benchmark for single-family homes jumped 9.7 per cent to $513,500 as sales in that category rose almost 10 per cent.

Condo apartment prices rose 8.6 per cent, to just shy of $300,000 as sales surged more than 14 per cent.

And prices of condo townhouses gained 9.8 per cent to $337,800 as sales jumped 7.9 per cent.

So far this year, overall resales in Calgary are up almost 11 per cent.

“Two consecutive years of relatively strong employment and population growth, combined with rising wages and low lending rates, have supported demand growth in our housing sector,” the board’s chief economist, Ann-Marie Lurie, said in a statement.

Calgary is one of Canada’s three high-flying markets, the others being Vancouver and Toronto.

Loonie sinks
A one-two punch from the Bank of Canada and Saudi Arabia drove the Canadian dollar below 88 cents (U.S.) at one point today.

On the one hand, said chief currency strategist Camilla Sutton of Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz was “dovish” in a speech he gave in Toronto.

Separately, West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fell after Saudi Arabian Oil Co. reduced prices to the United States.

The loonie, as Canada’s dollar coin is known, touched a high of 88.77 cents and a low of 87.90.

By late in the day, it stood just above the 88-cent mark.

As The Globe and Mail’s David Parkinson reports, Mr. Poloz defended the prolonged use of low rates, saying the alternative would have been far worse.

Retirement needs
The Who famously sang that they hoped to die before they got old.

Some of them didn’t. And you probably won't.

And thus, advisers say, consider age 90 as a new benchmark.

“Okay, you’ve no doubt heard plenty about how we’re all living longer than past generations,” BlackRock said on its website today.

“But chances are you might not fully grasp how long, long can be.”

A study by the Society of Actuaries in the United States, for example, showed four out of 10 people were off by at least five years while guessing how long they’d live.

Another study by the same group, cited by BlackRock, showed more than 50 per cent of those not yet retired said that at least one family member had made it to at least 90, but less than one-quarter of those surveyed thought they’d go that long.

“It’s a potentially serious disconnect that can undermine even the most careful retirement planning,” the U.S.-based asset manager said.

“After all, asking yourself ‘how long will my money last in retirement’ is in large part depending on how long you need that money to last,” the group added.

“With the prospect of a very long life increasing, you may want to consider using age 90 as a base planning target.”

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