US homebuilding falls 111 pct in May but permits to build at

WASHINGTON – U.S. builders broke ground on fewer homes in May, but the pace of construction remains significantly higher than a year ago as the real estate sector increasingly reflects the stronger job market.The Commerce Department said Tuesday that housing starts last month fell 11.1 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.04 million homes. Economists say that starts increased so sharply in April — surging 22 per cent to an annual rate of 1.17 million — that some giveback was inevitable in May.And in a promising sign for the months ahead, approved building permits rose increased 11.8 per cent to an annual rate of 1.28 million — the highest level since August 2007.“While the May starts data was a bit of a disappointment, the permit data was much stronger than expected suggesting starts should continue to improve in coming months, supporting job creation and the broader economy,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at the brokerage BTIG.There were fewer starts last month in all four major geographic regions: the Midwest, Northeast, South and Midwest, driven in large part by a monthly decline in the rate of apartment construction.Still, housing starts have increased 6 per cent year-to-date, aided by the spillover effects of strong job growth and relatively low mortgage rates. Construction firms appear ready to increase building activity of both houses and apartment complexes in the coming months to satisfy the growing demand for housing.Employers have added 3.1 million jobs over the past 12 months — new paychecks that are flowing into the housing market as more Americans have the income to buy new houses at a median price of roughly $300,000. Sales of new homes have climbed nearly 24 per cent year-to-date, according to a separate Commerce Department report.There are also more Americans renting. Even though job growth has accelerated, the economy has slowly crawled back over the past six years from the Great Recession. The Washington-based think-tank Urban Institute estimated in a recent report that 13 million additional households will be renting by 2030, compared with 9 million additional homeowners.But the increased demand has kept supplies tight, feeding expectations that builders will respond by breaking ground on more houses and apartment complexes in the coming months.As of April, the market for new homes had 4.8 months of supply, compared with 5.6 months a year ago. A healthy market generally contains six months’ worth of supply.Builders also have an increasingly positive outlook on sales.The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday rose to 59 this month, up five points from 54 the May reading. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor.Mortgage rates have started to climb, although they remain low by historic standards.The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate was 4.04 per cent last week, according to the mortgage firm Freddie Mac. That is up from 3.87 per cent in the prior week. by Josh Boak, The Associated Press Posted Jun 16, 2015 6:45 am MDT Last Updated Jun 16, 2015 at 10:30 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US homebuilding falls 11.1 pct. in May, but permits to build at highest level since 2007 In this Monday, June 8, 2015 photo, a worker carries a load of lumber to a new home construction site in Mechanicsville, Va. U.S. builders broke ground on fewer homes in May, but the pace of construction remains significantly higher than a year ago as the real estate sector increasingly reflects the stronger job market. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) read more

Stingray wants more than double its Montreal presence but faces labour shortages

by Julien Arsenault, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 16, 2017 12:48 pm MDT Last Updated Jun 16, 2017 at 1:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email MONTREAL – Music service provider Stingray says its plans to more than double its size in Montreal within five years could be hampered by Quebec government support for video game companies.Chief executive Eric Boyko said Friday that it is having trouble attracting talent because of provincial tax credits that have helped companies like Ubisoft and Warner Bros. to settle in Quebec over the past 20 years.He said these companies use the tax credits, which Stingray is not eligible for, to help pay higher salaries to recruit coveted computer engineers.“Twenty years ago, it was a good measure,” Boyko told reporters. “But today I do not agree. If we want to innovate, we need engineers and we do not get enough (from universities). “Stingray (TSX:RAY.A) wants to increase its Montreal presence by hiring 400 people over the next five years and adding 30,000 square feet to its headquarters, which employs about 300 workers.However, the lack of skilled labour could thwart the company which owns specialty channels such as Galaxie, Concert TV and Karaoke Channel.For the first time since its start a decade ago, he said Stingray may have to extend the planned December launch of a new application because it is unable to fill 70 positions.Martin Carrier, who led Canadian video game developer WB Games Montreal with about 600 workers until recently, said it was a “relevant and sensitive” subject.“(Tax credits) created a special environment in which foreign companies came here to create jobs while adding strong competition to the labour market,” he said in an interview.Carrier said government tax measures are not “the issue” but ways should be found to ensure local businesses aren’t disadvantaged.“We want to avoid being a branch economy, but we also want foreign investment,” he said. “It’s a game of balance. “Stingray, which saw its revenues top the $100-million mark for the first time for its financial year ended March 31, wants to reach between $200 million and $250 million of revenues in five years.The company generates about half of its revenues outside Canada and hopes to increase that to 75 per cent by 2022. Stingray wants more than double its Montreal presence but faces labour shortages read more