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Friday Free-for-all! Dec 15th 2017

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, here are a few links to kick off the chat:

Third month of price declines
More condos than ever before
Horgan promises tax to affect demand
“Affordable” housing
Brace for steep rate hikes
Failed flips
BC Changes tenancy regulations
Higher debt loads

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

Houses being sold at a loss

Southseacompany points out this article claiming speculators are leaving the local market and selling homes purchased in the last two years for less than the purchase price:

Dozens of homes in Metro Vancouver bought in the last two years are currently listed to be sold for a loss as speculators appear to exit Canada’s hottest real estate market.

An industry insider sent ThinkPol sales data for single family houses in the Lower Mainland showing roughly 40 properties that are currently listed for prices lower than what the sellers originally paid for them.

As the property purchases were made within the last two years, ThinkPol was able to validate this data using information published by BC Assessment.

price read the full article here

Rate hikes in 2018

Southseacompany points out this article in the Financial Post warning of ‘three or more‘ rate hikes next year.

Investors are assigning a 20 per cent chance of an increase at the decision Wednesday, with a statement to be released at 10 a.m. Ottawa time. Only four of 26 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expect Poloz to increase his 1 per cent benchmark rate, with all major Canadian banks expecting a pause.

Central bank policy makers — who raised borrowing costs for the first time in seven years in July and September — are handling the normalization of policy very carefully. By their own measure, interest rates are still a full 2 percentage points below what they would consider “neutral” but the Bank of Canada is wary of raising borrowing costs too quickly for fear of inadvertently triggering another downturn.

Read the full article here.

BC: The Best Place to Launder Money

Looking to launder some money?

You’d be hard pressed to find a better place to do it than right here in beautiful British Columbia.

“One of the members of the public service said, ‘Get ready. I think we are going to blow your mind.’ While I cannot share all of the details, I can advise you that the briefing outlined for me allegations of serious, large-scale, transnational laundering of the proceeds of crime in British Columbia casinos,” Eby said. “And I was advised that the particular style of money laundering in B.C. related to B.C. casinos is being called, quote, ‘the Vancouver model’ in at least one international intelligence community.”

Eby suggested that a “lax attitude” towards regulation of B.C. casinos, during a period when the previous government had enjoyed “massive increases in provincial gambling revenue,” seems to have contributed to the problems today in B.C.’s gambling system.

Once you’ve had fun in our casinos come join the real fun in our property market where owners get to hide behind ‘opaque legal mechanisms’ for a place to stash cash that pays back!

Eby also said that he believes B.C.’s property ownership system — in which true owners of property can hide behind opaque legal mechanisms — could be attracting foreign criminals and corrupt officials seeking to hide wealth in the province. Eby said Finance Minister Carole James is working on reforms to pull back legal veils that cover true ownership of property and corporations.

Eby pointed to a 2016 study by Transparency International that showed real estate buyers in B.C. are using shell companies, trusts and nominee buyers to hide their beneficial interest in property.

In examining Vancouver’s 100 most valuable homes, the report found that 46 per cent — amounting to more than
 $1 billion in assets — have opaque ownership. Of the 100 properties, 29 are held through shell companies, at least 11 are owned through nominees (listed as students or housewives on land titles), and at least six are disclosed as being held in trust for anonymous beneficiaries, the report said.

Eby said B.C.’s landownership system could be connected to Metro Vancouver’s skyrocketing home prices. Top economists have “made inescapable arguments that taxable incomes reported to Revenue Canada have no connection to real estate values in Metro Vancouver until you get out to the distant suburbs of Vancouver,” Eby said.

This Eby guy sounds like a troublemaker. You know what to do, get out your wallet . With the right motivation we should be able to get this new government on the right side of history and keep the fun going in the casinos and the housing market. Right?

Read the full article here.