Friday Free-for-all!

You made it to the end of another work week!

… And that means it’s time for 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:

Toronto Bankers put squeeze on Van RE
Flawed data bumps up home prices?
Depressing homes outlook for Canadians
Personal debt creeps higher
Vancouver: no fun city?
Spain foreclosures hit wealthy

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

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Meh
Guest
Meh

How real estate works in China

“I’m a law-abiding citizen who wants to solve problems according to the law, but I find I am always the loser,” Liu said. “Now the rules and laws keep me going round a maze. But I’ll never give up. I believe I can find justice somewhere.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2012/10/11/china-evictions/1626821/

bby
Guest
bby

Had an appoint in Point Grey today, and was surprised by the amount empty commercial space along 10th avenue. For Lease and For Rent signs on quite a few places that have been around for aeons, or at least decades. It is, or was?, a wonderful neighborhood with a quiet upper working class elegance. Still seems nice, but the empty storefronts indicate that businesses must be struggling. Is the demographic shift to hot foreign money (HFM) and luxury speculation creating an impossible business environment? As the wheels fall of the RE party bus, will Point Grey become a desirable ghost town borough of Vancouver? Could the inevitable crash drive out the HFM and restore a locally sustainable demographic once again?

Popgoesthebubble1
Guest
Popgoesthebubble1

Where’s the links?

Ray
Member
Ray

Developers are quietly putting condo projects ‘on the shelf’

While the fundamentals of Toronto’s condo market — high immigration, low interest rates, pro-intensification policies — remain strong, “a lot of people are waiting to see what happens later this year,” Vihant said.

… and just when you think he might have been misquoted he says as the closing line for the article:

“There are ways to intensify and (put) infill family housing into neighbourhoods where there are schools, transit, parks, community centres and daycares.”

Things are getting intense, people.

http://www.yourhome.ca/homes/realestate/article/1266824–developers-are-quietly-putting-condo-projects-on-the-shelf

Simpatico
Member
Simpatico
Have Canadian authorities over-reacted by imposing tougher rules on the securitization of mortgages, slashing the mortgage-amortization maximum, and ensuring that the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada is “micromanaging” how the banks finance real estate? Now that the mortgage sales/retail arm of Mr. Big Bank is fat and the party seems to be winding down, would Mr. Bank prefer that Harper’s gang start pushing folks back into investments so Mr. Bank can have two fat arms? Don’t the feds and Mr. Big Bank give a rat’s ass what becomes of Bubblicious Vancouver, where the economy in mostly on FIRE (finance, investment, real estate)? That’s a point made in this Oct. 11 article in the Georgia Straight: Toronto bankers put the squeeze on Vancouver real-estate developers “Paul suggested that chartered banks often make fatter profits through investment banking as… Read more »
dumdumb
Guest
dumdumb
More Data Please
Guest
More Data Please

@Meh: China Forced Evictions/Confiscation …”without appropriate legal protection and safeguards,”…

Good post! Canada now has a reciprocal investment deal ticking down (October 31,2011) to be on the books with China. This legislation may have erroneously made some invalid assumptions about the universality of cultural norms with respect to property and the lawful conduct of public officials.

In my view, this new agreement will allow well connected Chinese to import their “way of doing business” to Canada:

http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/fipa-apie/china-text-chine.aspx?lang=en&view=d

The Green Party has an online petition to open Parliamentary debate on the legislation before it comes into effect: Google “stand up to the sellout to china”, to see it.

For an example of the main problem, google “nexen SEC”. The SEC is watching even if our regulators aren’t…

joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs

Following my post last night about the large number of TV sitcoms that revolve around renters, I thought of a few more to add to the list: Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, and Melrose Place. In the case of Melrose Place, the title of the show is the name of the apartment rental building everyone lives in.

patriotz
Member

@Simpatico:
“Have Canadian authorities over-reacted”

Are Canadian RE prices reasonable today compared to the US? There’s your answer.

As many of us have already pointed out, that article is complete BS from people who think that RE prices twice those of US are the “new normal” and any efforts to bring them under control, however half-hearted and too little too late, are some sort of dark conspiracy.

patriotz
Member
Lenders opposed crackdown on home equity borrowing Andy Poprawa, the chief executive officer of the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario, which oversees credit unions in that province, said in an interview that he does not intend to impose the 65 per cent loan-to-value cap on home equity lines of credit, since credit unions typically operate outside of heated real estate markets, such as the Greater Toronto Area. “Our credit unions would mostly be operating in the non-GTA markets – smaller communities, towns,” he said. “And there the real estate market is a little bit different, it’s not as overheated as the GTA, especially the condo market. So we don’t have the same level of concern that OSFI would have with respect to the large banks.” British Columbia’s Financial Institutions Commission has asked credit unions in that province for information about… Read more »
jesse
Member

@patriotz: CUs do claim to keep larger capital buffers due to their regional concentration but it’s far from transparent what loans they cut. If the big banks curtail lending in Vancouver that could end up flooding CUs with applications. They either absorb the difference by securitizing their portfolios and ramping up staff or they impose quotas or raise spreads.

I don’t think BC CUs have the balls to make BC’s market indefinitely; logistically it would be difficult and very risky. The question, I think, is what path CUs will take in administering loan quotas.

Harry Wang
Guest
Harry Wang

@bby: “Is the demographic shift to hot foreign money (HFM) and luxury speculation creating an impossible business environment?”

No. The old white farts are just getting older. Don’t worry, Point Grey is still one of the whitest neighbourhoods in Vancouver.

yvr2zrh
Member

@VHB – thanks for the numbers posted at the end of yesterday.

Looks like we continue to be on track for worst October except for 2008 in 15 years. September 2008 just was not terrible yet and we only had 19 sales days. This month we will come in likely about 2000 sales – which is really low for what is supposed to be a higher volume selling season. Also – the sales/list of perhaps in the 30’s will be very low.

If we can keep sale/list under 50 until the end of the year – this is going to be a disaster in the Spring time . . . .

Have a great weekend everyone . . .

Turkey
Guest
Turkey
This is from an earlier discussion I do not want to rip the scab off. But, the (generally excellent) Frances Bula just posted something relevant. @joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs: It absolutely is true that Vision Vancouver is bought and paid for by developers. That’s why the thin streets affordable housing plan is such a farce. Nothing Vision Vancouver will do will create affordable housing for non-drug addicts. Thin streets and ecodensity will only benefit developers and add more fuel to the bubble mania. Quoting Frances directly: As a result, I hear people — calling in to the NW show that I’m on, talking about this in general conversations, writing letters to various editors and blogs — who are so mixed up that it’s kind of sad to listen to. At this point, as far as I can tell, there are an awful lot… Read more »
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
@Turkey: So the argument you are putting forth is that just because it’s not all about high rise towers but townhouses and low rise apartments instead that developers aren’t salivating over vision Vancouver’s affordable housing plan. Yes, towers do get the most attention from protesters and NIMBY groups. But that doesn’t mean developers don’t benefit from smaller residential structures, especially if it means opening up new land to development that was previously unavailable–which is what the thin streets proposal will do. If it’s a choice between no development and wide streets or low rise development due to thinner streets–the developers will still love thin streets. Of course, they would even love more to put towers up on the newly claimed land from thinner streets–if only they could get away with it. Vision Vancouver is financed by developers. This is a… Read more »
Domocrass
Guest
Domocrass

@Harry Wang:
@bby: “Is the demographic shift to hot foreign money (HFM) and luxury speculation creating an impossible business environment?”

No. The old white farts are just getting older. Don’t worry, Point Grey is still one of the whitest neighbourhoods in Vancouver

The above comment was foreclosed on. Why? It is a valid point that vacant retail could be due to aging residents and perhaps also a combination of more online shopping and the effect of big box discounters. Small neighbourhood shapping strips all over the city are fading away. The Punjabi market on Main street is another example.

joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs

Oh and I forgot to mention that Vision Vancouver’s Task Force on Affordable Housing is stacked with developers, most notably Olga Ilich.

joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
@Domocrass “It is a valid point that vacant retail could be due to aging residents and perhaps also a combination of more online shopping and the effect of big box discounters.” Yes, it could be true that struggling streetscape retail in Vancouver is due to demographic change and big box stores. It could be true, but I doubt it. -If anything, older people are less likely than younger people to shop online -Online retail will never fully replace bricks and mortar retail–not everyone has a credit card (esp. in this maxxed out credit environment) and lots of people still like to touch and feel what they are buying -Vancouver, esp. the west side and Point Grey, doesn’t have very many big box stores. When Walmart tried to open up in Vancouver, the City didn’t allow it. Where do Point Grey… Read more »
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
It could be true that struggling streetscape retail in Vancouver is due to demographic change and big box stores. It could be true, but I doubt it. -If anything, older people are less likely than younger people to shop online -Online retail will never fully replace bricks and mortar retail–not everyone has a credit card (esp. in this maxxed out credit environment) and lots of people still like to touch and feel what they are buying -Vancouver, esp. the west side and Point Grey, doesn’t have very many big box stores. When Walmart tried to open up in Vancouver, the City didn’t allow it. Where do Point Grey residents go if they want to shop at a Big Box Store??? -Retail in my part of Surrey seems to be thriving. Lots of new stores are opening up on King George… Read more »
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs

OMG I am in moderation purgatory. I wrote a really good response to Domocrass and I can’t post it. I really hate this. I think this blog should end moderation.

joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
In response to Domocrass I doubt that big box stores and demographic change are the main reasons for struggling retail in Point Grey and Vancouver generally. -Older people are less likely than younger people to shop online -Online retail will never fully replace bricks and mortar retail because not everyone has a credit card (esp. in this maxxed out credit environment) and lots of people still like to touch and feel what they are buying -Vancouver doesn’t have very many big box stores. When Walmart tried to open up in Vancouver, the City didn’t allow it. Where do Point Grey residents go if they want to shop at a Big Box Store??? -Vancouver retail is dying for the same reasons the sense of community in Vancouver is dying. Real estate is too expensive. Too many houses sit empty bought by… Read more »
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs

To Domocrass:

I doubt that big box stores and demographic change are the main reasons why retail in Vancouver is struggling.

joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs

To domocrass:

If anything, older people are less likely to shop online than younger people.

joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs

To Domocrass:

-Online retail will never completely replace bricks and mortar retail–not everyone has a credit card (esp. in this maxed out credit environment) and lots of people still like to touch what they are buying

joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs
Guest
joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs

To domocrass:

Online retail will never replace bricks and mortar stores because some people don’t have credit cards and some people still like to touch what they are buying

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