TORONTO — Vancouver is the second most unaffordable housing market in the world after Hong Kong, according to a new study of major property markets.That could spell trouble for homeowners if mortgage rates rise, economists say.“Given how high house prices are relative to household incomes, you’d only have to see a moderate increase in mortgage rates to have a really huge hit to affordability,” said David Madani, Canada economist at Capital Economics.The annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey ranks real estate markets in Canada, the United States, Australia, China, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom.The survey calculates affordability by comparing median house prices with median incomes — the higher home prices relative to incomes, the more unaffordable the market.Condo option gains ground as price gap with low-rise homes soars to record $251,000How Airbnb renters are helping Canadians pay off their mortgage in a grey-market areaHow once-booming Calgary is now becoming the drag on national home pricesCities like Vancouver and Toronto, where house prices are significantly higher than incomes, would be hit hardest by a spike in mortgage interest rates, Madani said. Many homeowners could find themselves struggling to make monthly payments.In Vancouver, median home prices were 10.6 times higher than median incomes in 2014. That’s the worst affordability ranking Vancouver has ever received in the survey’s 11-year history, and an increase from 2013 when prices were about the 10.3 times higher than incomes.In Toronto, median home prices were about 6.5 times higher than median incomes last year.You’d only have to see a moderate increase in mortgage rates to have a really huge hit to affordabilityA report released Monday by TD Economics said even a mortgage increase of two percentage points could cause financial hardship among Greater Toronto Area homeowners, pushing up the number of residents who devote 30% of their income to mortgage payments to 20% from 16%.Although Vancouver was the only Canadian city that made it to the Top 10 list, housing markets in Toronto, as well as in Victoria, Kelowna and the Fraser Valley in B.C., were also ranked as unaffordable by the Demographia study.The report blames Ontario’s urban containment policy, a development plan that strives to prevent urban sprawl, for Toronto’s swelling home prices.Meanwhile, Moncton, N.B., was ranked Canada’s most affordable market.Fredericton and Saint John, N.B., Windsor, Ont., and Charlottetown were also ranked as affordable places to buy homes.Overall, the study ranks Canada as “seriously unaffordable,” with home prices in major urban markets about 4.3 times higher than incomes, while for Canadian real estate markets overall, median home prices are 3.9 times median incomes.The Bank of Canada had been expected to raise its trend-setting interest rate, which has been at one per cent for more than four years, this fall. Economists now say that’s unlikely, given that the collapse in the price of oil is likely to stunt economic growth.However, Madani says even if the central bank remains in a “holding pattern,” Canadian mortgage rates could rise in response to economic recovery south of the border and policy actions from the U.S. Federal Reserve.“We can expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to soon begin to raise interest rates, and with that we expect to see rising U.S. Treasury yields,” Madani said. “On that basis, we have been expecting long-term interest rates in Canada to go up, and those rates are what really, in some sense, determine or influence mortgage rates.
“These new allegations relate to a case where three young females – including one minor –were victims of rape by members of a MINUSCA military contingent. The Mission was informed of these allegations on August 12 2015 by the families of the three women,” explained Diane Corner during a press conference from Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR).These allegations come on the heels of a case reported on 11 August by the human rights group Amnesty International, also regarding MINUSCA “blue helmets.” The day after the incident was revealed, MINUSCA chief General Babacar Gaye, resigned at the request of the Secretary-General.Mrs. Corner said upon learning of the charges, the Mission immediately informed the UN Headquarters in New York, which notified the UN Office of the Internal Oversight Services and the relevant troop-contributing country. Per procedure, within 10 days, the country should notify the Organization whether it intends to investigate these allegations itself. “If the country fails to open an investigation or does not respond to the request of UN Headquarters, the Organization will launch its own investigation,” explained the Deputy Special Representative.Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that it was critical that troop contributing countries take swift action to appoint national investigation officers, conclude investigations and hold perpetrators accountable, UN spokesperson, Vannina Maestracci said today.MINUSCA, assured Mrs. Corner, will make sure to preserve all available evidence related to the allegations. Assuming the penal responsibility, the contributing country is ultimately responsible for the good conduct of his own peacekeepers. The Mission and the agencies it partners with provide assistance to victims of such claims, added Mrs. Corner.Reiterating MINUSCA’s firm commitment to fight all forms of misconduct by its personnel, she called for anyone with some information in this regard to share it with the Mission, which will guarantee anonymity and protection. Deployed in early 2014, MINUSCA is currently aiming to defuse sectarian tensions across the country. More than two years of civil war and violence have displaced thousands of people amid ongoing clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka alliance and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian. In addition, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continues to operate in the south-eastern part of the country.The situation of deep instability is further exacerbated by a growing humanitarian crisis. The UN estimates that some 450,000 people remain displaced inside the country while thousands of others have sought asylum across the borders. Meanwhile, overall some 2.7 million people in the CAR remain in direct need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Brock will honour two faculty members for their notable contributions to research and teaching at Fall Convocation on Saturday, Oct. 18.Tony Bogaert, a professor in the Departments of Health Sciences and Psychology, will receive the Brock University Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity. This award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate outstanding research achievements, contributions toward the training of future researchers, and consistency in scholarly or creative performance.Marilyn Cottrell, a professor and lecturer in the Department of Economics, will receive the Brock University Award for Distinguished Teaching. The award recognizes a faculty member who has made a significant commitment to providing and developing quality learning experiences for students, in addition to making valuable contributions in curriculum development and the mentoring of colleagues.Bogaert will receive his award at Saturday’s 10 a.m. ceremony. And Cottrell will receive her award at the day’s 2 p.m. ceremony.More than 850 students are expected to graduate at Fall Convocation. All ceremonies will be held in the Ian D. Beddis Gymnasium and a reception for graduates, family members and other special guests will be held after each ceremony.—Brock University Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity: Professor Tony Bogaert Department of Health Sciences/Psychology, Faculty of Applied Health SciencesTony BogaertProfessor Tony Bogaert is a world-renowned scholar specializing in the field of sexual orientation. His research investigates the origins of sexual orientation, asexuality, sexual offending, high-risk sexual behaviour, and a new model of women’s sexual desire and arousal. His contributions to his academic field have influenced popular ideas about sexuality in both the scientific and layperson communities.He is author of 65 publications in top-ranked journals, such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience and the Review of General Psychology. He has also written eight book chapters and has published a new book, entitled Understanding Asexuality. In its review, Booklist called this book “…an unusually intriguing and enlightening inquiry.”In 2003, Professor Bogaert was awarded the Chancellor’s Chair for Research Excellence at Brock. Following this recognition, he published his groundbreaking research on the fraternal birth order effect in gay men, which was recognized worldwide as one of the top 100 science stories of 2006. His research found that gay men, have on average, a greater number of older brothers than heterosexual men. It also showed that sexual orientation development in men is, at least partly, prenatally based.In 2004, he was the first researcher to publish a large-scale study on asexuality, which he classifies as a fourth category of sexual orientation. He is a much sought after media commentator on issues like sexual offenders, pornography, sexual anatomy, high risk sexual behavior and sexual orientation. He has also served as an expert witness in a US Supreme Court case involving sexual orientation discrimination.Throughout his career, Professor Bogaert has received more than $7.8-million dollars in funding for his work from notable funding agencies such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI). Furthermore, he has presented his research at more than 60 national and international conferences.He also invests significant time in facilitating research projects with undergraduate and graduate students at Brock in the Departments of Health Sciences, Psychology, and Education at Brock.—Brock University Award for Distinguished Teaching: Professor Marilyn Cottrell Department of Economics, Faculty of Social SciencesMarilyn CottrellProfessor Marilyn Cottrell’s enthusiasm for economics is contagious. Due to her stimulating approach to teaching, many students become fascinated with economics.Students report that she has a “unique, effective and interactive way of getting through to students.”Professor Cottrell’s attention to detail ensures that students arrive in upper year courses ready to succeed. She generously makes herself available to answer student questions about her courses, and her openness and patience with students is remarkable. She not only attempts to ensure that every student has the opportunity to excel in her courses, but also mentors students regarding careers in economics.Professor Cottrell was recognized by the Council of Ontario Universities for developing a Learning Object for principles of macroeconomics. Her work on this initiative also received much acclaim in the United States. She was chosen by a juried panel to present the details of her work at successive meetings of the American Economic Association.This quote from a student captures the sentiment of many: “I believe that Marilyn’s motivation, enthusiasm, and devotion to teaching and to the well-being of her students is exceptional. My Brock experience was enhanced by the opportunities afforded to me by Marilyn’s involvement.”Professor Cottrell has received the Award for Part-time Instructors and Teaching Assistants (1998), the “Making a Difference” Award (2003), the Council of Ontario Universities Award for Excellence in Teaching with Technology (2006), the Brock University Students’ Union Teaching Award (2007), the Don Ursino Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Large Classes (2009) and the Faculty of Social Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching (2013). She was also named a member of the advisory panel to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank on FRED in 2011.