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.
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.
The weekend is almost here and that means it’s time for another Friday Free-for-all!
This is our standard 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:
–Unconditional offers the new normal
–$1 million over asking
–Bubbles bursting everywhere
–PC city councillor not PC
–New York vs Vancouver
So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!
Mark Carney (why does that name sound familiar?), The Current Head of the Bank of England is speaking out against negative interest rates.
While defending ‘monetary stimulus’ he points out that negative interest rates haven’t done much to improve economies and is instead a game of hot potato where everyone loses:
So negative interest rates are effective in only one way: via the exchange rate – or as he says, “via beggar-thy-neighbor” – which might be “an attractive route to boost activity” for an individual country. “But for the world as a whole,” this “transfer of demand weakness elsewhere is ultimately a zero sum game.
Read the full article over at business insider.
The highly secretive pro-renting cabal that runs the local media have another article out comparing renting to owning with an obvious preference given to renting:
Not only did renting give her more options for places, put an extra $700 a month in her pocket and get her off the hook for repairs, maintenance, property taxes and the day-to-day responsibilities of ownership, it also gave her more options to live her life.
“If I had purchased in Vancouver, my future for the next many years is set (in stone),” said Yee, who is now happily living in a 685-square-foot, two-bedroom laneway house with her partner in her dream neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant for $1,650 a month.
“With renting, I can do whatever I want. It’s so freeing and valuable to me.”
They also paint ownership in a negative light:
Putting all your eggs in one very expensive and non-liquid item over the expense of other assets doesn’t make financial sense, say some experts.
Hannah says unprepared homeowners can end up more stressed and in debt than renters. Studies have also shown homeowners aren’t happier than renters. They have less leisure time and derive more pain than joy from their homes.
Will the media stop at nothing in their portrayal of renting as a superior life choice?
Read the full article here. Thanks to southseacompany for the link. Krystal Yee runs a personal finance blog that can be found at givemebackmyfivebucks.com.