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IKEA Canada launches TaskRabbit

19 October 2018
Furniture, Retail

BURLINGTON, Ontario – IKEA Canada has launched its new in-home furniture assembly and mounting service in select markets across the country beginning immediately in the Greater Toronto Area before being rolled out in Vancouver in mid-November and Montreal next spring.

TaskRabbit offers IKEA customers the opportunity to have its products assembled in-home at their convenience – as early as the next day after purchase. The retailer also hails the service as “affordable” saying it priced by flat rate per type of furniture, starting at $32.

“We know that Canadians are increasingly time-strapped, with growing urbanisation and longer commute times than ever. Expanding our offer with TaskRabbit’s on-demand service enables IKEA to meet our customers’ needs in a fast-changing retail landscape,” IKEA Canada president Marsha Smith said in a statement. “Today’s launch is an important step as IKEA Canada continues its transformation journey to become the leading multichannel home furnishings retailer, ensuring the shopping experience is convenient, flexible and affordable for our customers, both today and in the future.”

IKEA Canada has launched TaskRabbit, its new furniture assembly and mounting service, in the Greater Toronto Area. It plans to expand to Vancouver and Montreal over the next few months.IKEA acquired the San Francisco-based TaskRabbit in September 2017, as part of its effort to provide more accessible services to its customers. The network connects people who need tasks done around the home – such as furniture assembly, handyman work, moving help, snow removal and more – with independent service providers called Taskers, who have listed their services on the network. Taskers are background checked, vetted and receive ratings/reviews for tasks completed.

Canada is TaskRabbit’s first new country market since its acquisition by IKEA and third market overall. It currently operates in both the United States and the United Kingdom. IKEA furniture assembly currently ranks as the fastest growing category on TaskRabbit, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

To learn more about the service, IKEA customers can visit IKEA.ca/TaskRabbit and then proceed to TaskRabbit’s web site to complete an assembly request. IKEA co-workers can also provide no-obligation quotes in store.

TaskRabbit also provides additional services to support home improvement plans – from painting to mounting a TV or moving help. Customers can visit www.taskrabbit.ca to book a Tasker.

Smith said IKEA Canada is continuously developing a strong, flexible and affordable service offer to meet the evolving needs of its customers. These include: home delivery across Canada to the room of choice; assembly and mounting services; kitchen/bath installation; Click & Collect; and, in-store kitchen planning and digital planning services.

Headquartered here, IKEA Canada has 14 stores, an e-commerce virtual store, five pick-up and order points and 17 collection points. Last year, IKEA Canada welcomed 28 million visitors to its stores and 95 million visitors to the IKEA.ca web site.

LVM registration desk opens

19 October 2018
Events, Furniture, Mattresses

LAS VEGAS – The online registration desk for the 2019 winter edition of the Las Vegas Market (LVM) has opened. The twice-yearly trade event will run from 27 to 31 January will be held at the World Market Centre here and will offer more than 4,000 cross-category furniture, home décor and gift resources across three buildings and two pavilions.

The portal can be found at www.lasvegasmarket.com/register.

“Las Vegas Market offers buyers, designers and exhibitors an easy-to-navigate destination to launch new lines and discover the latest trends,” said Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Centers (IMC), the owners and operators of the market.

The World Market Center is home to the Las Vegas Market, held in January and July every year.“Las Vegas Market is the nation’s fastest growing gift and home décor market and the leading furniture market in the western U.S.,” he added.

The organisers said market-goers will be offered a variety of special events and industry networking opportunities, including the 14th annual Las Vegas Market Design Icon Award, which honours an interior designer or architect who has made a significant contribution to the industry throughout his career while giving attendees an opportunity to connect with and learn firsthand from living legends.

For the first time this January, LVM is partnering with Kite Trade Association International (KTAI) to bring 20 makers and designers of wind-related products to Pavilion 1, adding a new dimension to the market’s gift and home temporary exhibits. KTAI is a non-profit organization based in Oregon that exists to support and promote the manufacturing, distribution and retailing of kites and wind-related products.

The co-location, which is KTAI’s first collaboration with a major market, will add to the 200+ toy resources available in three buildings and two pavilions at Las Vegas Market.

Additional LVM-exclusive events include the 2019 Housewares Design Awards, which recognise design excellence in 11 core housewares categories, one SMART home category and a new Gourmet Specialty Foods category. During the industry event, the third annual Design Influencer Award will also be presented.

Other highlights include product introductions in gift, home décor and furniture resources in both permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits. Introductions within the gift category include international, seasonal/garden, pet products and fashion accessories.

Within furniture, there will be a focus on case goods, upholstery, casual/outdoor, mattress and bedding and hospitality.

In home décor, new resources are expected in lighting, rugs, accents, wall décor and home textiles.

Organiser also expect that all major mattress and bedding producers will exhibit at the January show, which in recent years has established itself at the largest mattress event in the United States.

Temporary exhibits will showcase 500-plus new and returning gift and home décor exhibitors in six categories at The Pavilions, including a section devoted to antiques.

Beyond products, LVM hosts a proprietary trend program called First Look, which features a curated showcase of products that reflect the diversity of styles, prices points and categories available at market. Buyers can also attend events, hospitality and product demonstrations designed for them as well as use onsite amenities, including campus and hotel shuttles, fully-equipped internet lounges, and convenient café and food kiosks.

Its web site and app host an exhibitor directory and other planning tools to create and customise preferred exhibitor lists. Floor maps have been included in exhibitor profiles and integrated market registration details, including Scan & Go QR codes, are available to users who have created an account.

Dates for the winter 2019 Las Vegas Market are Sunday to Thursday, 27 to 31 January.

From Sunday to Wednesday, the permanent showrooms and temporaries on C12 and C13 will be open from 8am to 6pm, but will close on Thursday at 4pm.

The Pavilions will be open from 9am to 6pm, and close on Thursday at 4pm.

The Home Furnishings Temporaries on B12 will also be open from 9am to 6pm but will close on Thursday at 2pm.\

For more information, visit www.lasvegasmarket.com.

Home sales fall in September

19 October 2018
By the Numbers

OTTAWA – National home sales via its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) eased 0.4% in September when compared to August, marking the first decline since April, according to the latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

The realtors’ group noted while sales activity is still somewhat stronger compared to the first half of this year, it remains well below most other months since 2014.

It added sales declined from August to September in slightly more than half of all local markets, led by Vancouver Island and Edmonton, along with several markets in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) region. These declines were offset by monthly gains in the Fraser Valley and Montreal.

About 70% of local markets were down on a y-o-y basis, led primarily by declines in major urban centres in British Columbia, along with Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Chart courtesy of the Canadian Real Estate Association.The number of newly listed homes rose 3% between August and September, led by the Lower Mainland and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). More than half of all local markets posted a monthly increase in new listings. These were offset by declines – often greater than 3% – in the remaining local markets.

“Sales activity may get all the press but it’s the balance between that and the number of homes for sale that sets the tone for pricing environment,” CREA chief economist Gregory Klump said in a statement. “In markets with an abundant supply of homes and slower sales activity, buyers have the upper hand when it comes to negotiations over price. However, in places where buyers are keen to make a purchase but there’s a shortage of homes for sale, sellers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to price. It will be interesting to see how supply and demand respond to rising interest rates amid this year’s new mortgage stress-test.”

With sales down slightly and new listings up, the national sales-to-new listings ratio eased to 54.4% in September compared to 56.2% in July and August. The long-term average for this measure of market balance is 53.4%.

By this standard, CREA said about three-quarters of all local markets were in balanced market territory in September 2018.

The association also noted at the current rate of sale, it would take 5.3 months to sell off all listed properties. While in line with the long-term national average, this is well above the long-term average in the Prairie provinces and in Newfoundland & Labrador.

The actual national average price for homes sold in September 2018 was just under $487,000 – virtually unchanged from the same month last year.

Excluding Canada’s two most active and expensive markets – the Greater Vancouver Area and the Greater Toronto Area – cuts almost $104,000 from the national average, trimming it to just over $383,000.

In his research note, Rishi Sondhi of TD Economics said the broad picture of improvement in the housing market – from the weakness forced by new government mortgage regulations imposed earlier this year – is still intact and September’s report should be seen as a setback on the road to recovery.

“Looking at the past few months, sales posted relatively solid gains in June and July, driven by a rush of pent-up demand as markets adjusted to the updated B-20 lending guidelines,’ he said. “However, activity has eased considerably since then. This is consistent with our forecast calling for resale activity to rise at a more moderate pace in coming quarters, as increasing borrowing costs and stretched affordability conditions in key markets keep a lid on demand.”

Housing starts fall

19 October 2018
By the Numbers

OTTAWA – Housing starts continued to decline in September by all three measures used by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend fell 2.9% from 213,966 units in August to 207,768 units last month.

The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts. Its used as a complement to the monthly SAAR to account for frequent swings in the estimates, which are driven by the multi-unit segment that often varies significantly from one month to the next. Housing starts also fell on the seasonally adjusted and actual basis as well.

“The national trend in housing starts stood at a 19-month low in September, following declines in four of the last five months,” CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said in a statement. “The slowdown in the pace of new residential construction activity in recent months is a result of both lower single-detached and multi-starts activity and brings new residential construction closer to its long run average from the elevated levels registered in 2017.”

Chart courtesy of the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation.The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 188,683 units in September, down 5.1% from 198,843 units in August. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 5.9% in September to 175,653 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 8.9% to 122,656 units in September while single-detached urban starts increased by 2.0% to 52,997 units.

CMHC classifies urban starts as those in town and cities with populations of 10,000 or higher.

Actual starts of single-family homes fell to 5,025 units in September 2018 from 6,351 units in September 2017 – a 21% drop. The decline was felt in every region of the country except Quebec, where they were essentially flat on a year-over-year basis. Starts in this category were down 24% in Ontario and 20% in British Columbia.

For the first nine months of the year, single family starts were down 14% to 41,352 units – compared to 47,925 units or the comparable 2017 units. Starts were down in all regions example Atlantic Canada, where they gained 7%. The decline ranges from 9% in B.C. to 19% in Ontario.

Meanwhile, multi-unit starts – which covers apartments, townhouses and other forms of linked housing for both the rental and condominium markets – fell 6% in September to 11,710 units. They were down 37% in B.C. and 19% in Quebec but up 21% on Ontario, further evidence of the regional volatility in Canada’s national housing market.

Multi-unit starts, however, stayed positive for the year-to-date, gaining 4% to reach a preliminary count of 102,868 units. They are up in every region of the country, except the Prairies where they slipped a slight 1%. Leading was the Atlantic region, where starts for the first three quarters of 2018 were up 8%, followed by Ontario which was up 6%.

Total starts for September were pegged at a preliminary 16,735 units – down 11% from September 2017. B.C. starts fell 31% while those in Quebec were off 16%. Only Ontario saw an uptick on a year-over-basis.

For the year-to-date, CMHC estimated total actual starts at 144,220 units which is down 2% from the comparable period. Starts were off in every region of the country, expect B.C. where they were essentially flat.

In his research note, Rishi Sondhi of TD Economics expressed some surprise at CMHC’s report as forecasts were previously calling for an uptick in housing starts in September.

“The pace of homebuilding is clearly moderating, with starts lower in six of the past seven months,” he said. “Rising interest rates, regulatory changes and affordability pressures are weighing on demand and feeding through to homebuilding. Still, healthy permit issuance argues against starts heading much lower, at least in the near-term.”

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