Parents funding kids' houses & Big Brother watching you drive : BUSINESS WEEK WRAP

Written By doni icha on Sabtu, 11 April 2015 | 22.39

Without a doubt, the most popular story we brought you this week was this one, based on a report from mortgage insurer Genworth on Monday, that shows as many as one in three first time homebuyers in Canada are getting help from their parents to come up with a down payment.

Parents helping their kids to buy a home may not be a new concept, but Genworth's numbers made a splash because it's one of the most comprehensive attempts to quantify just how prevalent it is. With average house prices well over $400,000 now, it's no wonder buyers are hitting up "the bank of mom and dad" with regularity.

The typical first-time buyer paid about $293,000 for a first property, Genworth says, and put down 12 per cent, or $34,000, up front. 

That's nice if you have the cash, but everyone else trying to get into the market is affected, author Derrick Penner told us this week. "By giving them more money to play with in the market, um, you're, um, helping bid up property prices perhaps too much,"  he said.

Big Brother is watching you drive

Another story that made waves this week was this one, from the CBC's consumer affairs reporter Aaron Saltzman, about a new app from Desjardins Insurance called Ajusto that the company claims can lower your insurance rate by as much as 15 per cent because you consent to giving the app the ability to monitor your driving.

Once installed, the smartphone app monitors how much you speed, how much you're braking, how hard you go into corners and even how often you were distracted by your phone.

The company says it's a great way to lower insurance rates for good drivers. But privacy watchdogs are raising some concerns over other similar apps, some of which have been known to collect and transmit more info than the users thought. Although there's no evidence that's the case with Desjardins' app, professor and privacy expert Lori Andrews says it's a slippery slope to start down.

"We've found problems in all sorts of apps… healthcare apps, or fitness apps, where you enter data, that information is being sold," she said.

Oil woes spreading

We've seen for a while now that low oil prices are hurting the economy in energy-dependent parts of the country like Alberta. But the Bank of Canada on Wednesday said it's starting to seeing the pain of cheap oil spreading to other sectors.

Why It Matters Energy

Declining oil prices are starting to impact other aspects of Canada's economy, the central bank suggested this week. (Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press)

In its quarterly survey, the central bank polled 100 big companies across the country chosen as a representative sample of the whole economy. While there were some corners of optimism, overall the mood was rather bleak.

Hiring intentions were down to their lowest point since the recession of 2009. And even industries that typically do well when energy prices come down — like manufacturers — aren't doing as well as some people had hoped.

That could be bad news down the line for the economy as a whole, the bank says. And even business leaders in other industries are starting to worry about the spectre of cheap oil

"The oilsands, and the investment in the energy sector in general, has been an important driver of growth and manufacturing over the last number of years," Mike Holden of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters told Amanda Lang this week.

Nintendo's ad grab

It happened to the music industry, it happened to movies and TV, and now it looks like even the video game industry is getting set to wage wars on its own fans, in an attempt to get a cut of money it says are being collected illegally.

In a growing trend worth billions of dollars, gamers are making big bucks by posting clips of themselves playing video games online.

The movies are so popular that a major gaming company wants a piece of the action.

Nintendo wants some of the ad revenue gamers earn from posting videos on YouTube, and is pursuing legal action against some of the more popular ones, in some case seeking up to 100 per cent of the ad revenue they generate from making videos of themselves playing video games. 

Nintendo claims it's a copyright issue. But the gamers may not have to share, one lawyer told us this week. "I think the game players' position would be that they shouldn't be sharing this ad revenue at all, because they should be exempted from any claim of copyright infringement by fair dealing laws, because these videos could be interpreted in particular ways like criticism."

Other stuff

Those were just some of our biggest stories this week. Don't forget to check out our website often for more, and be sure and follow us on Twitter here. In the meantime, here's some more of our best work from the past week that you may have missed.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday


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