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Cost of new homes up in April

The cost of a new home in Winnipeg edged up for the fifth straight month in April.

Statistics Canada said Thursday Winnipeg's new housing price index rose 0.2 per cent from April to May. It was also up two per cent from a year earlier.

The earlier monthly increases ranged from 0.1 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

Statistics Canada said local builders cited higher costs for lumber, concrete and labour as the main reasons for the monthly housing-price-index gain. They said the increase was partially offset by some builders lowering their list prices to be more competitive.

And the two per cent year-over-year price increase was blamed on a combination of a 2.1 per cent rise in the cost of building a home and a 1.7 per cent hike in land prices, the agency added.

Canada's new-housing price index also climbed 0.2 per cent in April, following identical increases in February and March. The year-over-year increase was 1.6 per cent.

Statistics Canada said the combined metropolitan region of Toronto and Oshawa, Ont., was the top contributor to Canada's month-over-month increase. It had the largest monthly price advance in April, at 0.7 per cent. That was its largest monthly price increase since November 2011.

New-home prices in Calgary rose 0.6 per cent and were also up 0.2 per cent in Hamilton and the combined region of Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton, N.B.

Pavilion purchases another firm


Pavilion Financial Corp. has made its second acquisition in as many weeks.

The Winnipeg-based institutional services firm has acquired Plan Sponsor Advisors, a 12-year-old Chicago company specializing in fiduciary and non-fiduciary consulting services to publicly traded and privately held companies.

"They specialize in defined contribution (retirement) plans, which is the fastest-growing part of the market," said Daniel Friedman, Pavilion's president and chief operating officer.

Friedman said the newest company under the Pavilion umbrella wouldn't result in any changes at its Winnipeg headquarters, which has 30 employees.

"PSA's business today and their clients are U.S.-based, but we do expect we should be able to take some of their expertise and, over time, use it with Canadian clients or prospects," he said.

Two weeks ago, Pavilion acquired LP Capital Advisors, a Sacramento, Calif.-based investment consulting firm specializing in alternative investments and services for some of the world's largest pension plans, sovereign-wealth funds and high-net-worth family offices.


Ford decreases mileage estimates


DETROIT -- Ford is lowering the fuel-economy estimates for six models, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Fusion sedan, after internal tests found errors in the way they were calculated.

Except for the Lincoln MKZ hybrid, the fuel-economy estimates will fall between one and five miles per gallon. The subcompact Fiesta's combined city and highway fuel economy drops by one mpg to 36 mpg, for example, while the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid falls five mpg to 38 mpg. But the combined fuel economy for the MKZ hybrid has been reduced by seven mpg to 38 mpg.

Ford will compensate approximately 215,000 buyers with payments of between $125 and $1,050 each, depending on how much their vehicles were overstated. Most of those customers are in the U.S.; around 15,000 are from Canada and elsewhere.

Ford said it discovered the problem during internal tests in March and alerted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA supervised the retesting of the vehicles and is now confident their fuel economy is accurate, said Chris Grundler, head of the EPA's office of transportation and air quality.

Grundler said the EPA is still investigating why Ford made the error.


-- staff / news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2014 B17

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