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Toronto, Vancouver housing red hot in December

Canada’s hottest housing markets finished the year with a bang. Greater Toronto Area home sales surged 64.5 per cent year-over-year in December as condo activity showed fresh signs of life, according to the latest data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. The average selling price for all GTA homes sold was $932,222, rising 11.2 per cent from a year ago. Meanwhile, Vancouver home sales jumped 53.4 per cent last month, and the composite home price ended 2020 at $1,047,400, climbing 5.4 per cent from a year ago, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said.

Money market funds in a low-rate environment

If you’re putting your cash in money market funds, you should take a look at whether you’re actually racking up losses in this era of low rates and rock-bottom yields, according to personal finance columnist Dale Jackson. Money market funds, which invest in short-term debt securities, are commonly used as a safe way to store cash and generate returns over the near term. But, Jackson writes, in some cases, Canadians are losing money on these funds, paying their advisors higher fees than what today’s rock-bottom yields are earning

Changes coming to sick leave benefit for non-essential travellers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the federal government will “fix” the paid sick leave benefit that is worth up to $1,000 so it excludes non-essential travellers. This change comes amid mounting criticism of Canadians who travelled abroad over the holidays and potentially accessed federal paid sick leave to cover their two-week quarantine requirement. Trudeau said that the benefit was introduced so Canadians wouldn’t feel pressure to attend work with COVID-19 symptoms, not as a safety net for travel.

How to stick to a no-spend month plan

Holiday debt got you down? After increasing your spending on things like gifts, food and decorations over the holidays, committing to a plan to save for the New Year can be difficult. But for most people, it may be essential to their financial health – and a spending freeze can help get you back on track. Here are some ways to introduce a no-spend month and boost your savings.

TIP JAR

“Your net worth statement is where it’s at. It identifies opportunities or helps you set some goals for the next year … Those who are really wealthy have razor-sharp precision in terms of knowing exactly where they stand financially.”  

-- CTV’s Chief Financial Commentator Pattie Lovett-Reid on how to create wealth in 2021