Hey, look at that, it’s the end of another work week!

And that means it’s time for another Friday Free-f0r-all, 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:

money laundering in RE
Poloz, king of the economy
Ready for another rate cut?
Calm down!
Keep market buoyant
the 30% pay cut
Bubbles and balloons
The bullish point of view

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

Vangrl pointed out this story in the Province:

Vancouver’s booming real estate industry is being targeted in a federal money-laundering audit that could potentially lead to massive fines and jail time for realtors.

Ottawa’s increased examination of Vancouver real estate deals has been under way for several months and has been revealed in a Province investigation that obtained rare internal data and risk-analysis reports from Canada’s financial intelligence unit, Fintrac.

Documents obtained under access to information law — and The Province’s interviews with a wide array of B.C. real estate professionals, money laundering experts and Fintrac officials — suggest dramatic under-reporting of large cash transactions and suspicious transactions that realtors and developers are responsible to make to the federal government.

“We have significantly increased our examinations in the Vancouver area,” a Fintrac official said. “Our compliance people are not happy.”

Read the full article here.

Friday Free-for-all!

August 21st, 2015

It’s that time of the week again…

Friday free-for-all time!

This is our standard issue 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:

RBC downplays crash threat
An imbalance?
Thoughts from Ireland
Economists show concern
Sunshine coast stats

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

Some people have expressed concerns about Canadian home ownership rates hitting the highs that were last reached in the US before their market crashed, while others have said they’ll do what they can to increase home ownership rates in Canada.

So why would anyone worry about high ownership rates anyways?

ILoveCharts posted their take in the previous thread, and that comment is reproduced below:

Why do we need to worry about high home ownership rates?

1) Because when too many people own a home, it reduces the mobility of our workforce. Given the spotty/local nature of our economy, it’s important for our economy for people to be able to move within the country to follow the hot spots. When commodities are hot, people need to move to the west and our dollar is higher so manufacturing in the east suffers. When commodities are doing poorly the dollar drops and people need to move east to escape the barren mines, forests and oil fields of the west. Until we see major investment in diversification at the provincial level (likely will never happen,) this cycle will continue. With high home ownership rates, the teeter totter has tipped but people are nailed to the plank and they are stuck.

2) Because there is a practical maximum and a natural median. There will always be people who can’t practically buy (they are students, in poverty, etc.) When you go through a period of above-average buying, you expand the size of the housing industry (construction, realtors, etc.) in a way that is not sustainable in the long run. Once you hit the maximum, it only has one way to go to get back to the median. In the process, a lot of people lose their jobs. Seeing as 70% of people own homes, they start to run into problems with their mortgage. You can try to move the maximum point a little bit with new lending rules.. but you can only play that game for so long. Are we going to bring back the 40 year mortgage? Shocking to hear that we are going to allow $70k tax free out of the RRSP…

3) Because home ownership provides little to no value to society when it’s more expensive than renting. We want Canadians to be saving their money and investing in Canadian companies through Canadian stocks. We want those vast sums of money to deployed in our markets – creating and growing enterprises. Ownership of dirt doesn’t move our country forward.

The price of land is arbitrary. We have the second lowest population density in the world. It’s an incredible sign of weakness that we have allowed ourselves to get into a situation where we each pay so much for little pieces of it. We need to blame ourselves and our governments. We need to blame ourselves for feeling entitled to increases in the value of our property. Businesses with growing cashflows deserve to increase in value. Dirt does not – at least not at this rate. We need to blame the governments for being so willing to satisfy our demand for their short-term gain.

Now we’re hooped. The NDP wants to bring in massive social housing projects, the Conservatives want to use what is basically a nationalized bank (CMHC) to backstop ever-increasing mortgages for an ever increasing portion of the population and the Liberals just want to legalize weed.

I honestly can’t think of a way out of it.

Patriotz pointed out this article over at the Globe and Mail:

Economist caution against Harpers focus on rising home-ownership rate.

Stephen Harper is putting a new focus on Canada’s rising home-ownership rate, but some economists warn that pushing to drive it higher is a “wrong-headed” approach in an overheated market.

In government, the Conservative Leader brought in policies to encourage Canadians to save for their first home. Now, on the campaign trail, Mr. Harper’s promotion of home ownership is shaping up as a key part of his party’s pitch to Canada’s younger middle-class voters as he promises a package of new measures.

In a new twist to his message, Mr. Harper recently boasted that his party’s policies have contributed to the fact that Canada’s home-ownership rate is now higher than in the United States.

We’re number one! We’re number one!

Canada’s home-ownership rate is not often cited by Mr. Harper. It is a statistical achievement that did not turn out well for the U.S. when it reached a similar level more than a decade ago.

Oh. Read the full article here.

Saturday free-for-all?

August 15th, 2015

It’s Saturday night! The weekend is here!

…and clearly that means our usually Friday free-for-all open topic weekend thread is a bit late this week.

So…

What are you seeing out there?

Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and keep on having an excellent weekend!

Condo or castle?

August 12th, 2015

Every so often it’s fun to play a game of compare and despair with the price of Vancouver real estate.

Buzzfeed has just discovered this and posted a list of 9 castles that cost less than a Vancouver condo.

I’m betting none of those castles is walking distance to a coffee shop.

There’s an article over at the Globe and Mail about the difficulty faced by Tech startups in Vancouver – apparently it can be a challenge to attract top talent.

Vancouver is awash in startups with several poised to go public, transforming British Columbia’s economy as they grow. But for Canada’s lifestyle capital to emerge as a world-class tech hub it needs to figure out how to persuade top executives to actually move there (because hey, Silicon Valley has mountains and ocean too)

Meanwhile there’s a local company called Telus that just lost a CEO because he didn’t want to live in Western Canada.

Can you believe that? Not wanting to live in BC?!

Boggles the mind.

It’s that time of the week again…

Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend, a beautiful summer weekend in paradise!

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

Why won’t this guy buy?
TD warns of frothy market
What to do with housing gold
Liar loans
High prices not magic
Protect house prices
Seattle bubble blog back
Money laundering welcome?
important roll in the economy
Worst non-recession in 50 years
Vacant homes as dumpsters

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

Friday Free-for-all!

July 31st, 2015

It’s that time of the week again, Friday Free-for-all time!

Lets do 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:

What’s going on with HCG?
45 brokers falsified income
…for $1billion worth of mortgages
5 booming markets not VAN or TO
Don’t hurt property values!
Do retirees really want to move here?
Shadow lender feast on subprime

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

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