What’s Happening In Canada?

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) not much is happening in Canada. They report that national home sales are ‘little changed’ in December 2012. But that compares to November 2012; the picture is rather different if you compare with December 2011.

Some 80 per cent of local markets saw year-over-year declines in sales activity over the year, by an average of 17.4 per cent, although prices rose by 1.6 per cent over that time. There are, as ever, exceptions to the rule. Calgary, for example, saw sales up 7.2 per cent and prices up 6.9 per cent.

The CREA states, ‘There are still some real differences in trends between and within local housing markets. As always, all real estate is local, so buyers and sellers should speak to their local agents to appreciate how the housing market is shaping up where they live or are considering living.’ Good advice wherever you are buying.

Cashing In On The Gloom

Most businesses attempt to work around recession and economic gloom, but if you’re just starting out, a more sensible approach is to get into something that actually benefits from it. What sort of businesses thrives in harsh economic conditions? Here are a few examples:

  • Money Saving Services
  • Discount Goods Sales
  • Buying And Selling Second Hand Goods
  • Money Lending/Pawnbroking
  • Recycling Services And Products
  • Jobseeking Services

If you’re looking for a new business, or an addition to an existing one, you could do a lot worse than start your search in one of these areas.

Capital Growth Hotspots

New research from The Bank of Scotland reveals which cities outside of London have seen the biggest price rises, 2002 to 2012. Do you have investments in these hotspots?

Aberdeen 94 per cent

Inverness, 81 per cent

Bradford, 77 per cent

Dundee, 73 per cent

Perth, 70 per cent

Hull, 68 per cent

Carlisle, 65 per cent

Durham, 65 per cent

Swansea, 58 per cent

Stoke on Trent, 58 per cent

Clearly, if you are a BTL investor you do need to have at least one eye on capital growth – if you had, for example, a BTL investment in Belfast from 202 to 2012 you’d have seen growth of just 3 per cent over that time.

Professional Name Changer

Here’s a problem I’ll never have, but around 240,000 women in the UK have to deal with it every year.

When Miss Jones gets married and becomes Mrs Smith, there’s a lot of work to do. That was the inspiration behind MissNowMrs a US based service which has so far helped 82,000 women to make the transition. For £29.95 the company will notify all relevant parties including driving agencies, passport offices, social security authorities, banks and utilities. The company estimate that the service saves around 13 hours in wasted time. And they even offer a reversal service, come the divorce called GetYourNameBack.

I don’t know if anyone is doing this in the UK yet, but with over 240,000 marriages a year (and plenty of divorces as well) there certainly seems to be a need.

Post And Packing Poser

If you sell goods by mail or online, you face the tricky question of how you handle the issue of who pays for postage and packing. A recent survey by research company ComScore may help you to make a decision.

ComScore found that over half of online sales came with free shipping in 2012, and that consumers were coming to expect it as part of the deal. Over 60% of consumers said they would consider cancelling an order if they didn’t get free post and packing. It seems like that ‘plus £3 p&p is off putting and may be losing sales. This was in America, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar here in the UK.

Now I’m sure you’re switched on enough to realise that there’s no such thing as free post and packing. It’s simply a case of how it’s dealt with. The ComScore research would suggest that you will make more money by including post and packaging in the price quoted, rather than highlighting it as a separate item. As with all things like this though, it’s something you really need to test out in your own business.

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