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Briefing highlights

  • Ottawa leads housing ranking
  • Stocks, loonie, oil at a glance
  • U.S. inflation at 1.9 per cent
  • ECB holds steady
  • What to watch for today
  • Required Reading: Billionaire Bolsheviks

Ottawa leads ranking

It’s no Budapest, but Ottawa’s housing market now leads Canadian cities in a global ranking.

Indeed, Ottawa, which generally has fared well while others have lagged of late, outpaced Vancouver for the first time since 2013 in Knight Frank’s global residential cities index.

Canadian cities in general sit far down the list in the real-estate consulting group’s study of prices in the fourth quarter of last year.

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Canadian markets have, of course, felt the impact of higher interest rates, provincial measures in British Columbia and Ontario and, more significantly, new mortgage-qualification stress tests established by the federal bank regulator in early 2018.

Leading the fourth-quarter rankings of average prices in 150 cities was Budapest, with annual price growth of almost 23 per cent.

Ottawa came in at No. 45, with prices rising 5.9 per cent in the fourth quarter from the same period a year earlier.

Other Canadian cities:

  • Hamilton, No. 67, 4.4 per cent
  • Montreal, No. 68, 4.4 per cent
  • Toronto, No. 76, 3.7 per cent
  • Vancouver, No. 104, 1.4 per cent
  • Halifax, No. 118, flat
  • Quebec City, No. 119, decline of 0.1 per cent
  • Winnipeg, No. 121, decline of 0.5 per cent
  • Edmonton, No. 129, decline of 1.9 per cent
  • Calgary, No. 134, decline of 2.6 per cent

Price growth is slowing around the world.

“The results for Canada reflect the overall theme of moderation we are seeing across the index,” said Knight-Frank partner Kate Everett-Allen.

”The rising cost of finance, greater economic and political uncertainty, as well as more property market regulation, are constraining price growth.”

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Home sales in Ottawa sagged 8.6 per cent in March from a year earlier, while the average price of a non-condo property rose 7.2 per cent to more than $480,000.

The Ottawa Real Estate Board says there’s a lack of supply, with properties selling fast, and often for more than asking, amid bidding wars.

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Markets at a glance

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U.S. inflation rises

Higher gas prices helped push annual inflation in the U.S. up to 1.9 per cent in March. That won’t change the picture for the Federal Reserve, said CIBC World Markets economist Katherine Judge: “With inflation still within reach of the Fed’s target, today’s report shouldn’t do much to change the current stance of the Fed.”

ECB holds rates

The European Central Bank made no changes to policy today amid a deteriorating economic outlook.

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Cogeco profit slips

Montreal-based Cogeco Inc. profit fell sharply in the second quarter, while revenue rose 10 per cent.

What to watch for today

In the United States, investors will be watching for the afternoon release of the minutes of the last meeting of the Federal Reserve.

There has been a lot of chatter that the Federal Open Market Committee, the U.S. central bank’s policy-setting panel, could cut interest rates at some point. So markets will be looking for any clues they can find.

"We expect the minutes of last month’s FOMC meeting to underline that further rate hikes are off the table, although any explicit discussion of rate cuts is still unlikely," said Andrew Hunter of Capital Economics.

Required Reading

Billionaire Bolsheviks

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Ian McGugan looks at the executives he calls the billionaire Bolsheviks, those like JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who say they still believe in capitalism but have started spouting phrases that sound like they were ripped from a progressive manifesto. They’re not talking about the markets so much, but about those the economy has left behind, better health care and better schools.

Jamie Dimon

JEENAH MOON/Reuters

‘Brexit is not helping anybody’

Paul Waldie reports on how Britain’s looming divorce from the EU is wreaking havoc on business investment and manufacturing.

‘House poor’

There is one thing above all others that our society encourages you to overspend on – houses. But no, personal finance columnist Rob Carrick advises, it’s not okay to be ‘house poor.’

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