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NEWS MARCH 2014
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  TORONTO, March 4, 2014. In February, home sales reported by Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® were up by 2.1 % compared to the same period last year.

The
average selling price for February 2014 up by 8.6%.

“While the strong price growth experienced over the last year should prompt an improvement in the supply of listings, sellers’ market conditions will continue to prevail this year. Home prices, on average, will trend upwards at a pace well-above the rate of inflation. The impact of strong price growth on affordability will be mitigated by low borrowing costs,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
     
  Houses slightly more affordable for Canadians
RBC looks at the proportion of pretax household income that goes towards owning a home at current market prices. Its measures for detached bungalows and two-storey houses each eased by 0.2 percentage points (to 43.1 per cent and 48.7 per cent respectively), while the measure for condos fell by 0.1 percentage points to 28 per cent.

But the bank expects that longer-term interest rates will rise modestly this year, and “the costs of owning a home at market value will gradually outpace household incomes by late-2014, leading to increasingly strained affordability in several markets across Canada, much like the current trend in Toronto.

 
  Cuba’s new real estate environment

While Cuba has finally legitimized the sale of homes, the government has been slow to completely legalize the work Realtors and brokers do. Although the sale of property is now allowed, those who facilitate deals do so on the down-low. For example, one broker claims that his business is photographing properties and helping home sellers create advertising; he doesn’t broadcast that he is a broker. It’s the same as the used car market in Cuba – the government legalized a used automobile market but it is still illegal to open a business that sells used cars.

Before the Decree-Law No. 288 took effect in November 2011, it was illegal to bring buyers and sellers together and for a third party to make money from the deal. One caveat is that Cubans cannot sell their property to just anyone. Buyers have to be Cuban residents or foreigners who reside in Cuba full-time. Foreigners cannot come to the island and purchase property, ensuring the door is kept shut to massive foreign investment.
 
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