Canada's largest housing market was red hot in the final month of 2020 as Toronto's condo market showed fresh signs of life while sales soared across all property types. Greater Toronto Area home sales surged 64.5 per cent year-over-year last month as 7,180 properties traded hands, according to data released Wednesday by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB). The average selling price for all homes sold in December was $932,222, representing an 11.2 per cent increase from a year earlier. Meanwhile, after three straight months of decelerating sales, activity livened up in the GTA condo market. Sales soared 75.4 per cent year-over-year as 2,193 units were sold – which was a slight uptick from November. However, condo prices remained under pressure, particularly in the City of Toronto, where the average fell 4.7 per cent from December 2019.
As demand for air travel has declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one Canadian airline has offloaded a few of its planes to help Amazon.com Inc. move cargo. Amazon announced Tuesday that the e-commerce giant purchased 11 Boeing 767-300 planes to add to its growing cargo fleet, including four from WestJet Airlines Ltd. The online retailer said in a statement that the four planes from WestJet are currently being converted from passenger to cargo functionality and will join Amazon Air’s fleet later this year.
The Rev. Raphael Warnock won the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff, flipping a Republican seat and bringing Democrats one step closer to unified control of Congress and the White House, according to NBC News projections. In the other special Senate election, Democrat Jon Ossoff was leading Republican Sen. David Perdue with 98% of the expected vote counted, but NBC said the race was too close to call. With Warnock’s projected win, the Democratic caucus has 49 members in the upper chamber, while Senate Republicans hold 50 seats. If Ossoff wins, the Senate will be evenly split, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote. Democratic control of Congress would give This link will open in a new tab. President-elect Joe Biden more leeway to enact his legislative priorities.
The final step in confirming This link will open in a new tab. Joe Biden as the next president of the United States is set for Wednesday afternoon as Congress convenes in joint session to certify that he defeated President This link will open in a new tab. Donald Trump in the Electoral College vote. With Democrat Biden’s 306 electoral votes – 36 more than needed – the process normally would be a formality. But this year, it may take days because of what is likely to be a doomed effort by Trump to overturn his defeat, based on his false claims that he lost as the result of widespread ballot fraud. The process is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, with Vice President Mike Pence presiding as the states’ certifications of their election results are unsealed in alphabetical order. A baker’s dozen of Republican senators and dozens of GOP House members have indicated they will object to certifying electors from several battleground states that gave the Biden his margin of victory. While those objections could trigger a formal debate in both chambers of Congress, Biden is expected to be confirmed as president.
European investors focused on the latest coronavirus developments, with England entering a third national lockdown on Tuesday and Germany on Tuesday extending its own lockdown until Jan. 31. Concerns are growing over a new strain of the virus found in South Africa; former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned Tuesday that This link will open in a new tab. the new variant appears to inhibit antibody drugs. Euro zone economic activity contracted more sharply than expected in December, final composite purchasing manager’s index (PMI) data revealed on Wednesday. December’s reading came in at 49.1, an increase from November’s 45.3 but significantly below an earlier flash estimate of 49.8. Anything below 50 indicates a contraction.
Markets across Asia-Pacific were mixed on Wednesday, as developments turned the focus on Chinese tech giants and regional energy stocks. Shares of Chinese tech giants This link will open in a new tab. Tencent and This link will open in a new tab. Alibaba were monitored by investors on Wednesday after U.S. President This link will open in a new tab. Donald Trump signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications. That included WeChat Pay and Ant Group’s Alipay. The order is only set to go into effect after Trump leaves office. A private survey showed services sector activity in China expanding at a slower pace in December, with the Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index coming in at 56.3. That compared against November’s reading of 57.8.