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Resale homes moving well

WINNIPEG’S resale-homes market rebounded in April, with 401 more properties changing hands than in the previous month, according to new Multiple Listing Service (MLS) figures released Thursday.

The Winnipeg Realtors Association said 1,245 properties were sold during the month through the local MLS.

Although that was nearly a 40 per cent improvement over March’s sales total of 844, it still fell 101 units, or seven per cent, short of April 2012’s total of 1,346.

The association attributed that, in part, to fewer homes being available last month in the more popular price ranges. For example, there were 16 per cent fewer listings in the under-$250,000 category, and 11 per cent fewer in the under-$300,000 range.

"What this month’s results confirm is a sales parameter we have observed for some time," said WRA president Richard Dettman. "Keeping our local market affordable with more lower-priced listings is a key determinant of our sales success."

The seven per cent decline in unit sales was accompanied by a three per cent decline in the dollar volume of sales for the month — $325.9 million versus $337.4 million in April 2012. The association said April’s declines left unit sales running 11 per cent behind last year’s pace after the first four months of 2013 — 3,401 versus 3,829. The dollar volume of sales was down five per cent to $876.3 million from $926.4 million.

New Flyer nets $3.5M in Q1

NEW FLYER Industries Inc. is reporting net earnings of $3.5 million in the first quarter compared to a gain of $400,000 in the same period a year ago.

The Winnipeg manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses credits lower non-cash charges and a decrease in income taxes and finance costs for the year-to-year improvement.

New Flyer’s quarterly revenue increased 8.7 per cent to $247.4 million, mainly due to 10.9 per cent growth in the number of buses delivered in the quarter. There was also $5 million of incremental revenue associated with the newly acquired Orion aftermarket-parts business.
New Flyer, with a workforce of more than 2,200, delivered 490 buses in the quarter compared to 442 in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

The company says its book-to-bill ratio for the last 12 months ending March 31, 2013 was 211 per cent compared with only 31 per cent for the year ended April 1, 2012.

As a result, total backlog at the end of the first quarter was 7,527 units worth $3.3 billion, an increase of 19 per cent from the backlog at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012.

Canadian Tire to create REIT

TORONTO — Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. announced Thursday it will create a $3.5-billion real estate investment trust to unlock the value of its property holdings, with an initial public offering expected later this year.

The move helped send Canadian Tire shares up more than 10 per cent.

It came as the high-profile retailer of general merchandise, sporting goods, financial services and automotive products and services announced a 2.9 per cent increase in first-quarter earnings amid a 1.7 per cent increase in total revenue.

The proposed new REIT would acquire a majority of the company’s real estate, including a geographically diverse portfolio of some 250 properties, including a distribution centre.
Canadian Tire says the properties, totalling about 18 million square feet, have an approximate market value of $3.5 billion.

Canadian Tire-owned properties currently comprise a total of about 25 million square feet and the company said retail stores that are being considered for replacement, relocation, or further development would initially be retained and not be part of the REIT.

— staff / news services

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