Should banks take on more risk?

October 22nd, 2014

There’s an article over at the CBC on the CMHC and CEO Evan Siddall.

Mr. Siddall is of the opinion that the CMHC should not be privatized as it acted as a ‘shock absorber’ during the last correction, but does think the banks should take on a share of the risk for insured mortgages.

“That ultimately will be a decision for government to make and we’re in the process of looking at different options that will take a few years to evaluate, but the idea is that people should have skin in the game,”

“In the insured mortgage businesses, the banks offload all that risk to the government through CMHC, The government’s interested in taking a reduced role in the housing market … so we’ll look at different ways to share risks with lenders.

What do you think, should the CMHC force banks to take on more responsibility for the insured loans they hand out or would the banks just use that as an excuse to charge more?

Read the full article here.

Evangelists for buying

October 20th, 2014

Many Franks pointed out this article in the Globe and Mail and then pulled out a whole bunch of gems.

“Here’s a hilarious litany of Vancouver real estate orthodoxy straight from the punch bowl:”

…the city renowned in popular mythology as a place with such astronomical house prices that its young will be forced to live in basement suites forever…“

That’s right, buy or basement suites forever, your choice.

…There’s definitely sacrifices. I budgeted. I didn’t eat out. Some could say I missed some life experiences. But if you have that [home ownership] as your goal, anything is possible…”

It’s amazing whats possible if you just skip life experiences.

…the proliferation of condos and townhouses here gives them a lower-priced product to choose from compared with other cities that are dominated by houses…

Not only a magical city, but also one of the only ones around that has condos and townhouses!

…siblings or friends will buy an apartment together until they’ve built up enough equity to sell and take their proceeds…

Because what could go wrong with that?

…they’ve decided they’re going to buy in, no matter what…

NO MATTER WHAT!!

…buying became an emotional decision about moving to a new life phase. “This was the first step of being an adult,” said Mr. Richard…

Emotional decisions are an important first step of being an adult.

…some young homeowners have become slightly evangelical about the need for others to realize it’s possible if they stop being so clueless about money…

All it takes is a little knowledge.

“They don’t know anyone who owns, they don’t understand money, they just don’t think it’s possible. I keep telling them: “It’s a conspiracy to keep you as renters. Then you can pay someone else’s mortgage.’”

As Many Franks says “Amazing how much paydirt you can pack into a single article.”

 

FFFA! Bubble, Oil, Toil

October 17th, 2014

You made it to the weekend!

And that means its time for another Friday Free-for-all! This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

-End of the boom?
-A look at bankruptcy and foreclosure
-Alberta anxious over dropping oil
-HAM or BCM?
-Prices wont go up or fall

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

CIBC World Markets has released research that looks behind the average price moves in Canadian real estate. How are prices moving in Vancouver?

Astonishingly enough it looks like properties under the $1.1 million mark have moved less than a GIC in the last four years.  Here’s a graph from the original PDF:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.50.16 PM

 

That boggles the mind. Even Toronto which has prices going up at the high end looks like its been a much better investment at the lower and middle end:

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 2.38.45 PM

 

So essentially that idea you have in your mind that Vancouver real estate has been a good investment over the last four years with prices just rising and rising? Not so much.

Over the weekend we found out that a bearish poster on this site just bought a house.  Not in Vancouver mind you, but still..

What went wrong? Landlord wanted to move back in. Now if it was just me I would have rented another place, but as it isn’t just me I decided to see if I could make buying work.

Had to look outside my old neighbourhood, but I found a house on a big lot, price $330,000. Taxes about $3000/year, rental value about $1750/month. Great deal? No. But one I can live with. There might be some downside on the price going forward, but what matters to me is value, i.e. ownership costs versus rent, not expectation of price changes going forward.

And in that same thread we found out that a bullish poster sold his house and is now renting.

In all sincerity, when a voracious bear purchases, it may signal a top. Market trends often reverse at points like this.

To let you guys in on a secret, yours truly is no longer a home owner. I rent. I do have other real estate interests though.

So are these signals of a market top or what?

 

Its the end of another beautiful week and a long weekend to boot!

And that means it’s time for our regular Friday Free-for-all post, this is our end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Here’s a few recent links to kick off the chat!

-19.8% Avg loss at Olympic Village 2011-2014
-Retirement savings at risk?
-Oliver sees no bubble
-CMHC brings risk to taxpayers
-BC buyers seek investments
-Canadian RE among most overvalued
-$1000 house

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

Over on Medium there’s an Op-Ed by Spencer Thompson on the high cost of Vancouver Real Estate.

Not just the literal high cost of property, but the risk of a greater price paid by the city .

The secret that no-one actually wants to talk about is that the quality of a city is mostly determined by a simple factor — the number of smart, ambitious people who live there. These people are the ones who want to drive that city forward by investing in opening businesses, donating their time to the arts & community, participating in city planning, etc… Without them, growth wouldn’t happen and you wouldn’t get all of the benefits that great cities enjoy.

The biggest contributor to the decline of a great city is simple — it’s the decline of those smart people. When they decide that the cost of living in a place outweighs the benefit, they move. They don’t just take their money with them, they take their intellectual and future capital with them. This is dangerous. When people aren’t willing to make an investment in a place to live any more, the city doesn’t just lose their taxes for the year, they lose a massive function of potential jobs created, culture added and future capital they can put to work.

Read the full article here.

Now clearly Mr. Thompson is a believer in foreign investors as a primary driver of prices in this city, but whatever the cause, HAM, Drugs or Credit, does he have a point? Do high real estate prices risk driving out ‘smart people’ who would contribute to a brighter future for the city?

Prices up, incomes down

October 6th, 2014

Pete McMartin is on a roll over at the Vancouver Sun with a series of articles that looks at actual data on the Vancouver economy and housing.

The most recent article looks at local income levels.

Vancouver stands out as an unusual case around North America: Our house prices rose as our incomes fell.

But those high house prices, and our utter preoccupation with them, have become a distraction to a greater problem, and they are only a part of Vancouver’s economic malady. At any rate, those high housing prices are largely beyond the jurisdictional abilities of Metro Vancouver’s municipal governments to have any real effect on them. Meaningful change — in immigration numbers, for example — would reside with the federal and provincial governments, but not at the municipal level.

No, the persistent, year-over-year problem has been in income decline, and this has been a long time coming.

“This is not a new story,” said Tsur Somerville, director of the University of B.C. school of urban economics and real estate. “We have lagged behind the other major metropolitan cities since the 1980s, and even before the period of rising home prices.”

Read the full article here.

Hey! It’s Friday already, that means it’s Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

-Housing Bubble set to burst?
-Surge of listings in metro Van
-Realtor Hunger Index a bit over avg.
-Garbage piling up around charity bins
-We have lowest incomes for educated

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

They’re not making any more land, but we still seem to be finding some to build on.

The 21 hectare Jericho lands in Point Grey is part of an agreement to split control of three Vancouver properties between a crown corporation and three First Nations – the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

David Eby, MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey, said he was heartened to learn that a deal had been made regarding the Jericho Lands.

“There had been a lot of people in the community, myself included, that believed this land would be tied up in negotiations – potentially in court – for many years,” he said. “There’s a very clear and well-established traditional use of this land by First Nations. They were certainly entitled to it and it sounds like they received a fair share of their lands. It was certainly a surprise to hear that it has happened at all, let alone so quickly.”

Mr. Eby said the significance for the community he represents is that development will proceed faster than many anticipated.

“I would not be understating it to say that many members of the community that are neighbours to this property are incredibly concerned about the type of development that could potentially be located at this site,” he said.

“I can tell you everybody from affordable housing advocates to environmental groups … to the West Point Grey Homeowners’ Association has weighed in with different perspectives about what should happen here. That consultation will be challenging, but it’s critically important that it happen.”

Read the full article here.

 

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