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Friday Free-for-all! December 16th 2016

It’s the end of another work week and that means it’s time for another Friday free-for-all!

This 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:

Homes so pricey gov will chip in to help
FAQs about fat family debt
prices slide in YVR up in Toronto
Looks like Vancouvers bubble has burst
What benefits to new loans program?
Bush downpayment act of 2003
How a US rate hike will affect Canadians

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

Can we fix affordability with more debt?

Most people agree that there’s a problem with the BC real estate market, and that problem is usually called ‘affordability’.

Affordability usually means what you’re buying is too expensive, but it can also mean that you just can’t afford the monthly payment.

Interest rates look at risk of rising, but have been at rock bottom levels for years.  That means there’s not much room to move on ‘affordability’ when it comes to interest rates.

So we’re stuck with two options: price comes down or government starts giving away money.

Important announcement” for first time home buyers from the BC government.

Daily Hive says they know what this announcement will be.

Update: They were correct, here are some details:

The B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program will provide a maximum of  $37,500 — or up to 5 per cent of the purchase price — with a 25-year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years.

“The dream of home ownership must remain in the grasp of the middle class here in British Columbia,” said Premier Christy Clark.

The intention of the program is to assist people who can afford the mortgage payments on a new home but are challenged to make the down payment.

The province will start accepting applications for the program on Jan. 16, 2017.

Homebuyers will pay no monthly interest or principal payments over the first five years as long as the home remains their principal residence.

After the first five years, homebuyers begin making monthly payments at current interest rates.

If too much debt got us into this problem, surely it can get us out of it right?

Meanwhile the Bank of Canada is warning again about huge mortgages and growing household debt.

The Tragedy of the $1.2 Million Dollar House

There’s an absolute injustice happening in our fair city. Honest home owners who by no fault of their own now find themselves in the position of owning a home that is assessed at more than a million dollars.  People who have struggled and strived to achieve home ownership only to have the $570 property tax grant torn from their weary hands!

A greedy government is intent on charging these poor home owners property taxes without giving any of it back! The province cruelly raised the cutoff from 1.1 to 1.2 million earlier this year, but what is that? Less than 10 percent! Some assessments are up more than 40 percent! What are these poor homeowners supposed to do- sell and cash in on a hugely inflated market?

Fortunately there are freedom fighters who are advocating for the downtrodden and calling for a rise in the cutoff for the homeowner grants.  Pray that they succeed, because you know if the government succeeds in it’s evil plan to retain this $570 home owner grant they’ll only waste the money on caviar, cigars and saving people from fentanyl overdoses.

Don’t lend money to your real estate agent.

We know the readership of this site has a deep and abiding love of all things real estate so we figure you might need this public service announcement. Don’t lend money to your real estate agent.

Rita Fulciniti put a down payment on a new west-end condo, thinking that home ownership would bring her a little comfort and financial security in her retirement years. Instead, the 66-year-old is living in a homeless shelter, broke, and still chasing the Toronto real estate agent who borrowed her life savings.

In March 2014, Fulciniti’s $42,000 down payment was for a second-floor unit in the Vivid Condos on Michael Power Place near Bloor Street West and Islington Avenue. A year later, while the condo was still under construction, Fulciniti learned her potential roommate wouldn’t be moving into the building.

Fulciniti approached Chaim Smilovici — who also goes by the name Howard Smilovici, and was a real estate agent with Adenat Realty at the time — to find a tenant who would help cover the costs of carrying the condo. It was the beginning of her nightmare, she says.

The real estate agent did find her a room mate (that’s good!) but borrowed $95k (that’s bad!) with an agreement to pay in full plus a $5k bonus and a 12% annual interest rate (that’s good!).  He then lost all her money investing in a nightclub (that’s bad!).

Read the full article at the CBC.

Developers upset over surprise foreign buyer tax

Real Estate Developers are upset about the foreign buyer tax, arguing that the only real way to make homes more affordable is to increase supply.

Also it would be great if we could increase real estate affordability without lowering the price of anyones real estate.

A month before the tax was announced, Anne McMullin, president and CEO of UDI, e-mailed the Premier warning that any taxes aimed at curbing demand would not make Metro Vancouver more affordable without the stimulation of more supply. And, she added, increasing taxes might severely undermine the value of people’s homes “perhaps even destabilizing our industry, which represents 25 per cent of British Columbia’s economy,” she wrote.

Some experts point out that the foreign buyer market was already showing signs of ‘fatigue’ so the tax was completely unnecessary.

Experts cannot say whether this downturn in foreign owners will remain a long-term trend, but immediately after the Premier announced the tax on the morning of July 25, industry insiders were warning it could badly hurt one of the province’s most important economic drivers.

Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.