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GTA housing market showing signs of spring thaw

Toronto's housing market is signaling a change in the air as February saw a modest uptick in home prices, a move not witnessed since the previous July. According to data from the Toronto Region Real Estate Board, released on Tuesday, key indicators such as sales, listings, and benchmark prices displayed positive momentum. Despite February typically being a quieter month for real estate, the board notes that activity has started to pick up, driven by the anticipation of potential rate cuts.

The total sales for February were 17.9% higher compared to the same month last year. However, it's important to note that this figure is partially influenced by the leap year, which added an extra day to the tally. Adjusting for this, sales still saw a substantial 12.3% increase. New listings also surged, rising by 33.5%, contributing to the overall positive trend. The benchmark price inched higher both on a monthly and annual basis, indicating a positive trajectory for the housing market.

Despite these encouraging signs, there are pockets of concern in the Canadian real estate landscape. Equifax reports a rise in mortgage delinquencies in Ontario and British Columbia, highlighting stress among borrowers. The agency attributes this trend to the challenges posed by high-interest rates, making it harder for individuals to meet their payment obligations. In Ontario, the mortgage delinquency rate surged by 135% compared to the previous year, while British Columbia saw a 62% increase. However, it's crucial to contextualize these figures, as the overall delinquency rates remain relatively low, with less than 0.2% of residential mortgages in arrears nationally.

In the technology sector, Apple Inc. is facing challenges in China, with a reported 24% plunge in iPhone sales during the first six weeks of this year. Counterpoint Research suggests that Apple has slipped to the fourth position among smartphone brands in China, down from second place last year. To counter this decline, online resellers in China are offering discounts of up to US$180 on iPhones. Meanwhile, Huawei Technologies Co. has seen a surge in market share, benefiting from patriotic buying amid escalating trade tensions.

Turning to the energy sector, Alberta experienced a notable decline in oil production in January. The province's total oil output dropped by 380,000 barrels to just over 3.8 million barrels per day, marking the largest monthly plunge since 2020. The oilsands, a significant contributor to Alberta's production, saw a decline of 342,000 barrels per day. The primary culprit behind this slowdown was the harsh Canadian winter, with temperatures plummeting below -30 degrees, disrupting operations in mines and wells.

Amidst these economic shifts, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s annual conference, PDAC, continues in Toronto. This event remains a crucial platform for the global mining industry, and key players such as Teck Resources, Alamos Gold, and Ero Copper are sharing their insights on the industry's outlook. The mining sector holds particular importance for Canada's economy, and updates from the conference provide valuable perspectives on the state of metal and mining industries.



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