Saskatchewan deficit down to $595M, aiming to balance by 2020: fiscal update + MORE Mar 3rd

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REGINA _ The Saskatchewan government’s latest fiscal update shows a dip in the provincial deficit forecast and a slight slip in provincial revenue and expenses.
The third-quarter report projects the 2017-2018 deficit will be $595 million _ down $101 million from the red ink outlined in the last budget.
Third-quarter revenue is expected to come in at $13.9 billion, down $222 million or 1.6 per cent from budget estimates.
The government says that’s largely the result of lower than expected 2016 assessments for personal and corporate income taxes.
Expenses are projected to decline by 1.8 per cent, thanks in part to a large reduction in crop insurance claims.
Finance Minister Donna Harpauer says in a statement that her goal is to balance the budget by the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
“Our economy is performing well and is expected to post positive growth for the first time in two years,” Harpauer said Friday. “We will meet our fiscal challenges by controlling spending and ensuring we do what we can to help keep our economy strong…

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VANCOUVER _ Home sales in Metro Vancouver fell more than 14 per cent below the 10-year average in February as buyers contended with stricter mortgage rules and higher interest rates, according to statistics released Thursday.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s data showed that 2,207 homes sold last month. That’s down nine per cent from the same time last year and 14.4 per cent from the 10-year February average.
Detached homes experienced the biggest drop, down 39.4 per cent compared to the average. Townhomes fell 6.8 per cent, while condos rose 5.5 per cent.
“Rising interest rates and stricter mortgage requirements have reduced home buyers’ purchasing power, particularly for those at the entry level of our market,” Jill Oudil, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, said in a statement.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions implemented new lending guidelines in January that require borrowers who don’t need mortgage insurance to show they would still be able to make payments if interest rates rise…

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