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Winnipeg home costs creep up

NEW-home buyers in Winnipeg got a bit of a break in February.

The cost of buying a new home edged up a mere 0.1 per cent from January to February, new Statistics Canada figures show. That compares to price hikes of 0.8 per cent in December and 0.9 per cent in January.

But, despite the tiny month-over-month increase, Winnipeg still had the highest 12-month price hike in the country at 5.5 per cent, the figures show.

Statistics Canada said it was the third consecutive month Winnipeg held the dubious distinction, although it noted the pace of the annual increase slowed a bit from the previous month, when it was 5.9 per cent.

The agency said local builders continue to blame the price escalation on the rising cost of developed land.

A spokesman for one local developer said last month a combination of things are driving up the cost of serviced building lots. They include the rising cost of the raw land; the rising cost of servicing that land with things such as roadways, hydro, and water and sewer lines; and higher costs associated with obtaining building permits.

Nationally, the cost of a new home rose by 0.2 per cent from January to February and was up 2.1 per cent from February of last year, Statistics Canada said.


Google looks beyond the grave

NEW YORK -- Google has launched a tool that lets users decide what happens with their email, Google Plus and other accounts after they die -- or become inactive for any other reason.

Called "inactive account manager," the feature lets users of Google's services tell the company what to do with email messages and other data if their account becomes inactive.

For example, Google says, users can choose to delete their data after three, six or 12 months of inactivity, or they can choose specific people to receive the data.

Besides Gmail and Google Plus, other services covered include YouTube, the photo-sharing service Picasa, and Blogger. Google Inc., based in Mountain View, Calif., says it will warn users through a secondary email address or a provided phone number before taking any action.


Specialty TV fortunes on rise

GATINEAU, Que. -- Revenues for specialty, pay, pay-per-view and video-on-demand TV services have risen more than 35 per cent in five years to nearly $4 billion in 2012, according to Canada's broadcast regulator.

In 2012, those services created 226 new jobs, directly employed 6,176 people and paid $487 million in salaries, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Thursday.

Specialty television services continued to capture the largest share of total revenues at $3.1 billion, the CRTC said in a news release.

Expenses increased to $2.9 billion in 2012 from $2.7 billion in 2011. As a result, profits before interest and taxes dipped slightly from $934.2 million in 2011 to $916.6 million in 2012.

In 2012, these television services spent $1.39 billion on Canadian programming, representing a 9.6 per cent increase over the previous year.


Suit against Stewart proceeds

NEW YORK -- A New York State Supreme Court judge has rejected a motion by Martha Stewart Living lawyers to dismiss Macy's claim it breached a contract when it signed a merchandising deal with J.C Penney.

Lawyers for Martha Stewart argued Thursday the exclusive contract with Macy's in certain products such as bedding and bath items did not give exclusivity on design work.

But Judge Jeffrey Oing ruled Thursday Macy's has provided sufficient evidence the contract covers exclusivity in designs even when items lack the Martha Stewart name.


-- staff / from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 12, 2013 B6


Updated on Friday, April 12, 2013 at 7:01 AM CDT: fixes head

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