All posts by VCI Admin

New mortgage rules drive up housing market.

Tighter mortgage rules were intended to cool the Canadian housing market, but according to National Bank economist Marc Pinsonneault they are having the opposite effect in the short term.

The new rules require insured mortgage holders to put down a minimum of 10 per cent for any portion of a house’s price above $500,000. The 5-per-cent minimum down payment still applies for the portion of a house price below that.

Economists predicted last year the rules would temporarily drive the market up, as homebuyers raced to land a mortgage before the deadline.

But Pinsonneault says the effect will continue this year, because the new rules don’t apply to anyone who locked in a mortgage before Feb. 15 of this year, and those people have until July 1 to buy a home.

It seems like everything done in the name of ‘cooling’ the housing market has the opposite effect.  Read the full article here.

Housing bubble pushes out young tech workers

According to this article in the Financial Post Millennials are ‘fleeing Vancouver‘ and moving to cities where they can afford housing.

As housing costs have risen, so have the number of people in their twenties and thirties leaving the city. The net number of people age 18 to 24 added to Vancouver’s population was the lowest ever last year, at 884, and the number of 25-to-44-year-olds decreased by about 1,300, the biggest decline since 2007, according to Statistics Canada.

The tech industry is currently one of the key drivers of economic growth in the area, but they’re noticing the shift:

That driver of growth may evaporate as talent exits Vancouver, said Christine Duhaime, founder and executive director of the Digital Finance Institute, which supports Canada’s financial-technology industry. She’s having a tough time filling a 2,000-square-foot (186-square-meter) open-concept office for startups in Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighborhood she opened this year because potential tenants say they’re leaving the city for Victoria, Kelowna and as far away as London and Singapore.

“We’re banging our heads on the wall,” she said. “Why aren’t they staying? Because it’s too expensive. Vancouver is going to lose its tech edge.”

The nearest towns that seem to be benefiting from the exodus of young tech workers are Victoria and Kelowna. Read the full article over at the Financial Post.

Friday Free-for-all! March 10th 2016

Another grand week in paradise draws to a close, the weekend awaits.

And you know what that means? That means it’s Free-for-all time, 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:

Bank of Canada good on rates
We’re building lots of condos
Who’s doing what
We’re not realtors
Think of the children
Local demand irrelevant?
Empty homes are low

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

CMHC looks to define foreign money

How would you go about trying to determine how much foreign money is going into Canadian real estate? The CMHC is now trying to figure that out.

A core team of analysts at CMHC held several meetings to discuss how best to tackle the data gap. Researchers had initial meetings with agencies including the Canada Revenue Agency and Fintrac, CMHC confirmed. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada monitors money laundering and out-of-country transactions of at least $10,000. The documents show CMHC also planned or had meetings with the Bank of Canada, British Columbia’s housing and property assessment agencies, and the department of finance to start a data working group.

So why are we missing that information and how much real estate is owned by people outside the country?

After meetings with realtors, lawyers and condo developers in Vancouver, CMHC market analysts pointed to the lack of transparency in the market. Realtors often don’t see residency status or identification such as a passport, and that information isn’t stored electronically at the brokerage. Lawyers and bankers who run the transaction aren’t obligated to pass on residency information and buyers don’t regularly check a citizenship box when paying land-transfer tax.

“Conveyance is done through the lawyers and bankers,” minutes from a meeting show. “Money transfers should get passed onto Fintrac. Whether this is taking place or not is an issue.”

Previously, CMHC has tried to glean the scope of foreign investment with a survey of property managers that found less than 6 per cent of condos were bought by people who reside outside the country.

Read the full article over at the Financial Post.

Vancouver Emergency Housing Town Hall

At least one local politician seems to think that house prices in Vancouver are not just a problem, but an emergency.

David Eby is hosting an ‘Emergency Housing Town Hall‘ on March 16th at the St. James Community Square on West 10th.

Join MLA David Eby and local experts for an Emergency Housing Town Hall

This meeting is to discuss the causes of, and solutions to, an out-of-control real estate market in the Lower Mainland that has little or no connection to average household income. Issues of international speculation in our housing market, shadow flipping, real estate agent accountability, and other concerns will be addressed. Bring your stories, questions and concerns. The media, along with MLAs from both sides of the legislature, both BC Liberal and BC NDP, will be invited.

This is a meeting to hear stories, demand answers, and send a message to the Premier and the government to start to value the people of Metro Vancouver who make the communities we call home possible.

For full details see the event page here.