A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘economics

[URBAN NOTE] “GTA home prices jump 27.7 per cent in a year”

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MacLean’s shares the Canadian Press’ report on the accelerating speed of real estate price increases in Toronto.

The average price of homes sold in the Greater Toronto Area last month soared 27.7 per cent compared with a year ago, the city’s real estate board said Friday.

The number of properties sold rose 5.7 per cent from February 2016, even though last year was a leap year which added an extra day of sales, the Toronto Real Estate Board said.

“The listing supply crunch we are experiencing in the GTA has undoubtedly led to the double-digit home price increases we are now experiencing on a sustained basis, both in the low-rise and high-rise market segments,” Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis, said in a statement.

“Until we see a marked increase in the number of homes available for sale, expect very strong annual rates of price growth to continue.”

The average selling price in the Greater Toronto Area hit $875,983 in February, while in the City of Toronto it was $859,186, an increase of 19.2 per cent. The MLS home price composite benchmark price for all communities measured by TREB was $727,300, up 23.8 per cent.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Film, TV, digital productions contributed $2B to Toronto’s economy in 2016”

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The Canadian Press reports, in an article hosted at MacLean’s, that media productions are huge parts of the Toronto economy.

Film, television and digital productions contributed more than $2 billion to Toronto’s economy in 2016, Mayor John Tory said Monday as he promised to streamline regulations, helping the city compete with other global destinations.

Calling the industry a “key economic driver” for the city, Tory said that 2016 topped the previous high of $1.5 billion in 2015.

Tory said $800 million of last year’s total came from Los Angeles-based productions, adding that Toronto will have to fight to keep the business.

The mayor said he met with the studios to thank them for their business and to find out what would help them return to Toronto.

“They told me that we had to continue to invest in facilities,” he said.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 3, 2017 at 7:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “High Park residents concerned about influx of high rises”

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blogTO’s Derek Flack reports on how High Park North is facing the prospect of significant change, with proposals to densify sharply an area that already has plenty of high towers.

A number of Toronto’s neighbourhoods are in the midst of major transformations thanks to the onslaught of high rise construction that continues to reshape the city’s skyline.

Areas like Yorkville, Lower Yonge Street, and the waterfront get a lot of attention, but they’re far from alone.

Development pressure has, for instance, ramped up in High Park. In addition to a completed development on Bloor Street, directly across from the park, a slew of other proposals would see the residential neighbourhood to the north fill up with high rises.

With numerous apartment blocks dating back to the late 1960s and 70s, tall buildings are not foreign to these residential streets.

But after an initial surge of activity in conjunction with the arrival of the Bloor-Danforth subway line, the area between Bloor and Dupont streets has been mostly unchanged.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 3, 2017 at 7:15 pm

[LINK] “Spotify Hits 50 Million Paid Subscribers, Lifting Music Industry”

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Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw notes that although Spotify is not yet profitable, it has managed to accumulate quite a few subscribers. Will this be enough to let it last?

Spotify has surpassed 50 million subscribers, extending its lead over rivals Apple Music, SoundCloud and Google as the world’s largest paid music streaming service.

The service, owned by Stockholm-based Spotify Ltd., has been growing at a breakneck pace. The company said it had 30 million subscribers less than a year ago, and 40 million subscribers in September. Apple Inc., owner of the second-largest paid service, said last month its streaming service has more than 20 million customers.

Adding paying customers will help Spotify pitch investors, who expect the company to file for an initial public offering and are looking for signs the company can convert its growing subscriber base into a sustainable business. Spotify, which is unprofitable, generates almost all of its sales from subscriptions, though the music service also has tens of millions of additional users who listen for free, supported by advertising.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 3, 2017 at 6:45 pm

[LINK] “‘It’s a big gamble’: Record stores sound off on Sunrise’s HMV takeover”

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CBC News’ Haydn Watters reports on what the music retail industry thinks about Sunrise Records’ ambitious takeover of HMV stores across Canada. This does sound as if it could fail, badly.

Toronto’s Sunrise announced last week it will be taking over 70 HMV stores in malls across the country, with the aim of having them up and running by midsummer and turning a profit by next year.

If it works, it’s a boon for the industry, said Spencer Destun. But he’s got his reservations. Destun runs the last surviving Sam the Record Man location at Belleville, Ont.’s Quinte Mall. Since opening in 1979, he said, he has seen about eight or 10 chains come and go — and his store is all that’s left of Sam the Record Man.

“It’s very tough to operate a store in a profitable manner today because the market is shrinking,” he said.

“I can’t even imagine the amount of organization and work that’s going to take. Thank God they have some experience in the marketplace.”

Sunrise currently has 10 locations in suburban Toronto and rural Ontario. Destun said he can’t think of another instance in any industry where a business has tried to “tenfold their increase.”

Written by Randy McDonald

March 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Dangerous Minds suggests that T-shirts with wildly offensive phrases in English are common in Asia. Asian friends and readers, is this actually true?
  • The LRB Blog makes the point that immigration restrictionism is hardly a policy that will aid hard-pressed workers, that only broader reform will do this.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at how the state bureaucracy in India can hinder the implementation of reforms.
  • The NYRB Daily reviews a grim play, Wallace Shawn’s Evening at the Talk House, set in a near future where cruelty is normalized.
  • The Planetary Society Blog talks about the intricate maneuvers of the Dawn probe in Ceres orbit.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw links to photos of a stunning home in Catalonia built in a slightly refurbished industrial plant.
  • Peter Rukavina talks about how he built an app for Charlottetown’s City Cinema.
  • Seriously Science reports on a study suggesting that most people would not wish to know the future, even if it was a good future.
  • Strange Maps links to an online map tool comparing different countries.
  • Supernova Condensate shares a fantastic chart showing how much delta-v one would need to expend to reach different points in the solar system from Earth orbit.
  • Transit Toronto notes that the Sheppard subway line will be closed this weekend.
  • Linguist Arnold Zwicky links to and reflects on a recent article looking at how gendered language for different jobs can discourage, differently, male and female job-seekers.

[URBAN NOTE] “Metrolinx seeks another transit car maker for Toronto project”

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The Globe and Mail‘s Oliver Moore reports on Metrolinx’s announcement that it is searching for a new transit car maker to replace Bombardier.

Metrolinx has opened talks with another transit builder as it pushes for a quick resolution to its legal showdown with Bombardier Inc. over a $770-million light-rail vehicle order for Toronto.

The regional transit agency alleges in a 2,000-page court filing that Bombardier’s delays are putting the $5.4-billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT project at risk. And it argues that the Montreal-based company is trying to drag out the legal process so that Metrolinx won’t have enough time to go to another supplier, even if it wins in court.

At issue are the 182 transit vehicles destined primarily for the Crosstown – which is under construction and scheduled to open in 2021 – and an LRT project planned for Finch Avenue West.

Metrolinx will be on the hook for major fines if the vehicles don’t arrive in time to open the Crosstown as scheduled. The agency, an arm of the provincial government, is also keenly aware that its political masters could change next year and is under pressure to show it can deliver big projects.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 2, 2017 at 9:45 pm