Leaving the city (and the big mortgage) behind

Financial Post | Business

Slightly more than three years ago, I sat down with my wife after a lousy commute and discussed why we were still in Toronto.

Sure, she had a good job in the city, but I was freelance, and with two young children in elementary school, we pondered whether there were other options.

The positives were clear — if we left the city it would change our financial position dramatically. We could trade our Scarborough rebuild in an up-and-coming part of the city for a house in the best area of a city like London, Ont., where we both went to school.

And the best part? We could buy that house in London, with more room in a better area for about 60% of the value of our Scarborough home, which saw its price skyrocket in the seven years we owned it.

It wasn’t that tough a decision; in 2012 we…

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Wait, Canada doesn’t have the strongest job market in the G7? Far from it, says OECD

Financial Post | Business

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Joe Oliver and his predecessor have been fond of trumpeting Canada’s economic and job creation performance since the recession, claiming it is unequalled among the Group of Seven large industrialized nations.

The minister made the boast again this week in a speech to employers in Halifax, noting that “our government has created over one million net new jobs … the strongest job growth over the recovery among G7 countries.”

But a recent report from the Paris-based OECD suggests that Canada’s employment record is not near the best.

According to 34-nation Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada would place fifth during the recovery period according to the percentage of the working age population that held a job at the end of 2013, compared to the situation prior to the 2008-09 recession.

Economists view the employment rate as a good barometer of overall strength in labour markets…

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Leading economist calls out government on lack of information about mortgage market

Financial Post | Business

TORONTO/OTTAWA • Economists love data, the more data the better, in fact.

More data on Canada’s mortgage market, for example, wouldn’t have prevented a U.S.-style housing crash, but it certainly would have helped many avoid some major pitfalls.

CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal can rattle off a string of missing datapoints:

“What was the dollar value of new mortgages originated in Canada in the last quarter? What is the credit score distribution of mortgage credit in Canada? What is the share of non-conforming loans in the Canadian landscape? What is the delinquency rate of those non-conforming loans? What is the trend in re-financing and pre-payments? What is the net equity position of new and existing mortgages? What is the flow of rental activity in the country? What is the share of foreign investors in the condominium market? What is the average down payment?”

Mr. Tal, in a report issued…

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