A UK firm is saying that Vancouver house prices are being primarily driven by low interest rates and lax lending standards rather than foreign buyers:
In an effort to explain why Vancouver and Toronto have experienced sharper increases in home prices compared to other Canadian cities, the paper looks at lending conditions for insured mortgages.
It states that last year in Montreal and Ottawa, about 10 percent of insured mortgages had a loan-to-income ratio of more than 450 percent.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, about 40 percent of insured mortgages were made at that risky quotient, and in Vancouver approximately 33 percent of insured mortgages had a loan-to-income ratio of more than 450 percent.
“We’re reliably informed that the mortgages in Toronto now stretch to 600% of combined gross income,” the newsletter reads. “So two people both earning $100,000 gross can borrow $1,200,000. What has really changed in the past 12 months is not a big increase in foreign buyers, but a further decline in interest rates, which has allowed lenders to relax lending standards even further.”
The paper concludes with an alarming statistic related to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).
It states that while real estate ownership-transaction costs still only account for 1.8 percent of GDP, since the first quarter of 2014 commissions on real-estate sales accounted for 21 percent of Canada’s overall gain in nominal GDP.
Read the full article in the Georgia Straight.
Business in Vancouver has an article predicting that the BC Foreign buyer tax will hurt blue collar immigrant workers in the Fraser Valley, which is weird because we were under the impression that the tax was on the Metro Vancouver area and the valley was exempt:
Rob Philipp, chief executive officer for the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB), said that while the new tax is aimed at high-end buyers, it’s only going to hurt the working-class immigrants who are trying to move to the region. He called the Fraser Valley’s immigrant population “the engine that drives us.”
“The people who are buying on the west side of Vancouver, they don’t really care about an extra 15% tax. If you’re buying two-, three- or four-million-dollar homes, they want into the market regardless.”
Philipp said the new tax also dampens the incentive for skilled out-of-country workers to settle in the region.
“As a province we’re trying to recruit really specialized professionals – doctors, nurses, certain types of engineers,” he said. “And those are people who are spending $800,000 to buy a place out here and now they’re thinking, ‘Well, I have to spend another $120,000. I’m not going to do it.’”
The other odd thing is that if skilled out-of-country workers actually ‘settle in the region’ and file a Canadian tax return they are exempt from the foreign buyer tax, so we’re curious how it would dampen incentives to move here any more than paying $800k for a house out in the Valley would.
Read the full article here and please correct us if we are mistaken about how the foreign buyer tax actually works.
There are more anecdotes of a market slowdown caused by the new foreign buyer tax in Vancouver. This latest batch from the North Shore News:
Local real estate agents say they know of several multi-million-dollar real estate deals collapsing and predict the hot North Shore housing market will cool slightly in the wake of a new 15-per cent provincial tax on property purchased by foreign buyers.
“It’s one of the most shocking events that’s ever arrived in our industry,” said Brent Eilers, a longtime West Vancouver Realtor with Re/Max. “Nobody really knows how it will unfold.”
Eilers said the new foreign buyers’ tax is bound to have an impact, particularly in markets like West Vancouver and North Vancouver, which have been “incredibly dependent on offshore money or new money” that’s come from sales to foreign buyers in other areas of the Lower Mainland.
Read the full article here. So far it looks like sales are dropping and listings rising over the last few months. According to zolo, the average sales price in Vancouver has dropped by a few hundred thousand dollars since March.
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 recent links to kick off the chat:
–What record low rates mean for savers & economy
–Repeal foreign buyer tax
–Housing intervention could sideswipe economy
–Vancouver drop in building permits is countrys biggest
–How the market could affect banks
–Realtors mix business with condolences
–The crackdown on smurfing
So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!
The BC Court of Appeal has upheld the right of a strata corporation to limit rentals in a condo building.
The ruling on Friday states that the strata council of Hycroft Towers in Vancouver’s South Granville neighbourhood can restrict its owners from renting out their suites – without explaining why – because anyone who feels they have been treated unfairly can take their case to the B.C. Supreme Court.
The dismissal of the appeal reinforces the right of strata councils to stop rentals in their buildings, a tactic that experts say might be creating more pressure on the region’s extremely tight rental market.
The case centred around a family that began renting out one of the three units they owned at Hycroft Towers last September – despite an earlier rejection of their application to expand the rental pool in the building by the strata council.
The family argued that, under the province’s strata laws, the council must also provide the criteria by which it grants permission for owners to rent their units.
However, Justice Gregory James Fitch ruled that it is “difficult to imagine that an acceptable screening criteria for administering the rent restriction cap [such as the ‘needs-based’ system proposed by the appellants] could be devised that would comply with [provincial law].”
Ah, condo ownership, where you get all the bills without the hassle of all the control.
Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.
On a side note, we’ve disabled the inline image rendering in comments. We made it a surprisingly long time before it degenerated into out of control garbage and it was nice to be able to see the occasional graph rendered in a comment, but clearly you people can’t be trusted.