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Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network files TORONTO — When Vanessa Witkowski and her husband were tasked with selling his grandmother’s home, they both knew they didn’t want to do it the traditional way.What they wanted was to have a more transparent process and to avoid wasting time “playing games” with potential buyers.So, they decided to put the house up for auction.“We really didn’t like the traditional process. My husband and I would rather see the home sell to someone that truly loves it and values it, and not just have someone lose out on the bid because of any undisclosed information,” said 47-year-old Witkowski.“It just seemed very stressful, and in certain situations, unfair.”OREA asks Ontario to allow more ‘transparent’ bidding process, revamp realtor rulesCondo flipping was never the culprit behind Vancouver and Toronto’s home price spikesRelease of housing data opens door to innovation in real estate industry, realtors sayThe east Toronto home will be posted next month with a starting bid of $650,000 through On The Block, a Toronto-based brokerage that specializes in online real estate auctions.Currently, in the majority of real estate transactions, interested buyers are notified about competing bids but are asked to submit an offer not knowing the contents of those bids.Through this method in a hot housing market, buyers often can blindly offer more than what they initially planned on spending in hopes of beating their competitor, and sellers often come out on top.Although Witkowski wants the home to be sold for a fair price, she wanted to ensure all those interested can make serious, informed offers, so she chose to have the house sold in an open, online auction.Currently, in the majority of real estate transactions, interested buyers are asked to submit a bid through a blind offer process not knowing if there are other bids, or what those bids contain. In Ontario, realtors are permitted to share the price of a competing offer with another buyer, but only if all parties involved agree to the auction process. Although allowed, the practice is rare, especially in a market where demand still outstrips supply.The Ontario Real Estate Association, the industry group which represents more than 70,000 realtors, is taking it one step further.Earlier this month, it asked the province to revamp the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act to allow agents to not only be able to disclose offer price, but additional details such as closing dates and any other conditions to potential bidders if multiple offers are on the table.Although it won’t be mandated, this option would be available if both the buyers and seller involved agree.OREA chief executive Tim Hudak says there is growing demand for more transparent transactions, something that is already offered in some U.S. states and in Australia, where open auction wars can often erupt in the front yards of properties.“We believe that people should be offered a choice,” he said. “There are some consumers who want everything on the table, to be open and transparent and there are some homeowners who believe they will get the most money or the best deal through this method.”Hudak says that, like in Australia, a more open process in a multiple-bid situation may result in “a bit of auction fever” and could drive up housing prices.Murtaza Haider, an associate professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, said the real estate industry is long overdue for another option from the current “ignorance-based bidding” process.“This will be a very important step to prevent price escalation and inflation at times when prices are out of step with incomes or increase beyond what one would expect them to rise given the level of demand,” said Haider, whose research includes housing markets.He said a more open offer process can lead to more informed buyers, but can also benefit sellers in a softer market by bringing in more househunters who shy away from bidding wars.The Witkowski’s realtor, Daniel Steinfeld, CEO of On The Block, said his company has sold about half a dozen properties in the Greater Toronto Area through the open auction process since launching last year. He likened the process to the website, eBay, but for real estate.He said most of his clients choose the auction route because they’ve been burned in the past as buyers shun the blind bidding process.“Up until this point, and frankly still, most people feel that there’s only one way to do it,” said Steinfeld. “That has led to some uncertainty and frustrations people have been having (about the real estate market).”Toronto Real Estate Board president Garry Bhaura said the proposal raises some issues over privacy, but that ultimately, having more choice is beneficial to the consumer.“Some would welcome this option, and others would opt for the status quo,” he said in an email. “Ultimately, the choice will be, and should be, the consumer’s.”The province said it is still reviewing the recommendations put forward by OREA.No provinces currently allow for details other than price to be revealed between buyers during the bidding process, but a spokeswoman for the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards says it is also looking at these rules and should have a recommendation within the next few weeks. read more

Air Canada shares surge to 10-year high after airline’s bullish Q2 outlook by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 6, 2017 9:21 am MDT Last Updated Jul 6, 2017 at 10:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email MONTREAL – Air Canada shares were at their highest in more than 10 years on Thursday after the country’s largest airline said analyst forecasts had significantly underestimated one of its earnings benchmarks.Shares in the Montreal-based airline peaked at $19.06 in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange rose. In later trading, they were up 7.38 per cent or $1.28 at $18.62.The last time Air Canada shares (TSX:AC) were at these levels was in February 2007.The shares surged after Air Canada said its EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, impairment and aircraft rent) will be better than $475 million average forecast by analysts for the three months ended June 30.In last year’s second quarter, Air Canada posted a record $605 million in EBITDAR and $186 million of net income, which includes many items required under general accounting.Chief executive Calin Rovinescu says the results for this year’s second quarter, to be announced Aug. 4, were driven by higher revenue and lower than projected fuel costs.He said in a news release that the quarter was capped by transporting nearly one million customers over the six-day Canada Day-Fourth of July period, including a single-day record of 166,850 passengers on June 29.Walter Spracklin of RBC Capital Markets said the guidance reaffirmed his “bullish view” of the company.He raised his target price for Air Canada to $25 from $21, saying the shares are undervalued.Air Canada was expected to earn $19.5 million of net income in the second quarter on revenues of nearly $3.8 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.Adjusted profits were forecast to be $45.7 million or 19 cents per share, down from $203 million or 72 cents per share a year ago. read more