Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

Rising home prices keep Canadians from starting families.

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Bull! Bull! Bull! pointed out this article in the Vancouver Sun.

The survey of 1,700 Canadians found 52.8 per cent of Canadians overall cannot afford to start or expand their families, with 46.4 per cent of millennials sayings their existing debt was making it impossible, even before considering a mortgage.

Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, thinks there’s no question household formation is being impacted by prices. “Common sense tells you it makes sense. We have an affordability crisis in large parts of the country. In these types of cases, people either stay in the basement (of their parents) but they definitely don’t buy a house. We know in the United States for sure this happened.”

Infrastructure in cities has not kept pace with density, as evidenced by some Toronto condominium developments posting signs warnings parents that their children might not be able to get into local schools because of overcrowding.

As Bull! Bull! Bull! points out, that’s not really a big deal because Vancouver isn’t a family town anyways:

that’s ok. young ppl can live in condos, ride bikes, instagram their breakfast, experiment with facial hair, smoke lots of pot and generally act like they never moved out of residence. (showers are optional). they’ll be happier anyways.

Read the full article here.

Oh look, free money! Should we leave it on the table?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Should property taxes be higher for non-primary residences?

“The dark houses in West Vancouver are so prevalent on some streets that Mayor Michael Smith worries about how his community is functioning.

He would like to see a heavy tax on houses that are used as investments or secondary residences, just like the $20,000 a year he pays in taxes for his vacation house in Kauai, Hawaii.

“As a society, we need to decide whether homes are for people and families or whether they’re investments,” Mr. Smith said. “If it’s not your principal residence, you should pay more in tax. The best way to stop this is to make it punitive.”

In Coquitlam, residents are also noticing dark condos in the new high-rises around the city centre. But Mayor Richard Stewart said it is not seen as such a bad thing.

“We raise taxes to pay for city services and, if someone is paying taxes but not consuming services, most people don’t have a problem with that,” he said.

Is it good enough to collect a standard property tax from some one who doesn’t live in a community or should politicians jump to take extra money from people who can’t vote them out?

Read the full article here.

How big can debt loads get?

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

It seems like every few months there’s more news about Canadians taking on record levels of debt – a recent story linked to by southseacompany is on this topic:

Evidence Canadians are on a debt-fueled spending spree.

Canada may have spent the first half of the year stuck in an oil-driven recession, but you’d never know it looking at Canadians’ spending habits.

Consumer spending was 6.68 per cent higher in the third quarter of this year compared to a year earlier, payment solutions provider Moneris reported in its latest quarterly report.

British Columbia and Ontario led the way in spending growth, with B.C. up 10.2 per cent and Ontario up 9 per cent.

Even in recession-ravaged Alberta, which lost 2.6 per cent of all its jobs in the past year, consumer spending is up by 0.3 per cent compared to last year.

Any one else getting bored with the repetition? Is it really different here and can Canada pull off this trick indefinately?

Here’s the full article.

CMHC: Boom to end in 2016

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Hmm. This sounds familiar.

The CMHC is predicting that the Canadian housing boom will come to a screeching halt next year and barely keep up with inflation:

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. issued a dim forecast for the housing market for the next two years on Monday, predicting dismal price growth — but at least one economist thinks the Crown corporation’s numbers may be off in Canada’s most significant market.

CMHC, which advises the federal government on housing policy, isn’t predicting a massive correction for housing, but it did say that consumers can expect prices to barely keep pace with inflation through 2017 and that sales and new construction would slow down.

Read the full article here.

Will the new government drive house prices up or down?

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

How will the new Liberal government policies affect rates and house prices in Canada?

And just what does ‘affordability’ mean in this context?

“Here’s some of what the mortgage market can expect from Mr. Trudeau’s new government:

Higher bond yields: Balancing the budget is not a priority for the Liberals until 2019. Trudeau is expected to go on a spending spree and bond traders aren’t keen about it. It suggests a greater supply of government debt and potentially higher long-term yields to come. That, of course, could mean at least slightly higher fixed mortgage rates than we’d otherwise see.

A More Hawkish Poloz: The odds just dropped for a cut in prime rate. More spending by Ottawa puts less pressure on governor Stephen Poloz to stimulate the economy with rate cuts. The implied probability of a rate hike by next October has almost doubled, from 8% yesterday to 15% as we speak.

Wider RRSP Access: The Liberals say they’ll open access to the RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan, particularly for homebuyers coping with significant life changes (divorce, death of a spouse, a sick or elderly family member, etc.). More access to down payment funds will prop up housing sales and home ownership slightly, and support home prices.

More “Affordability”: The Liberal platform includes a review of housing policy in high-priced markets. The new government will “consider all policy tools that could keep home ownership within reach.” What that means, we’ll have to wait and see. It could definitely be positive for renters and income property investors, given the Liberals have promised to “direct CMHC…to provide financing to support the construction” of new rental housing.

First-timer Support: Trudeau’s government will add more flexible programs for first-time homebuyers. This could mean any number of things, potentially even higher amortization limits for new buyers.
New Blood at the DoF: The Liberals will be installing a new Minister of Finance, who has enormous power over housing regulation. Will he or she be as hands-off on mortgage policy as the outgoing Joe Oliver? We’re guessing not. We’ll likely have an answer by the time the Liberals release their first budget next spring.”

$500 would push 16% of homeowners into default

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

A recent Bank of Montreal poll finds that approximately 1 in 6 Canadian homeowners would be pushed into default if payments rose $500.

According to the bank, 16 per cent of respondents said they would not be able to afford such an increase, while more than a quarter, or roughly 27 per cent, would need to review their budget.

Another 26 per cent said they would be concerned, but could probably handle it.

Such an increase would be generated in the case of a three percentage point hike in interest rates — from 2.75 per cent to 5.75 per cent — on a $300,000 mortgage with a 25-year amortization period.

Given that interest rates are likely to increase in the foreseeable future, the bank said there was no better time to put together a detailed debt management plan.

Read the full article here.

Harper plans to pump up housing market

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Harper has announced an interesting goal: 700,000 new home owners by 2020.

Harper says home ownership provides Canadians with financial stability and strengthens communities.

According to information provided by the party, the target would raise Canada’s home ownership rate to approximately 72.5 per cent. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., citing information from Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey, says the home ownership rate was 69.0 per cent as of 2011, the most current data available.

Meanwhile in the Metro area home ownership rates have moved from 56% in 1986 to 65% in 2011.

Trapped in a starter home.

Monday, September 21st, 2015

A funny thing happened on the way to financial security and easy riches, the condo promise in Vancouver didn’t really pan out for many young families according to a recent Vancity study.

The idea of a starter home is to get on the property ladder, then trade up as your family grows. But this doesn’t work as well when condo prices stagnate and single family home prices grow, especially when there are very few options available for 3-4 bedroom attached or condos.

Across the region, families who wish to move from a one-bedroom apartment or condo to a three-bedroom home with an attached yard would have to increase their debt level by an average of 95%. In Vancouver’s west side, this jumps to 158%. In the city’s east side, it is a much lower 78%. The biggest jump is found in White Rock, where debt levels would increase by an average of 164%.

Read the full article here.

Canadian personal finances bleak.

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

According to a recent poll by the Canadian Payroll Association, nearly half of the workers in Canada are struggling month to month to cover their living expenses.

Nearly a quarter say they probably couldn’t come up with an extra $2k if they needed it for an emergency in the next month.

More than one-third of respondents – 36 per cent – said they feel overwhelmed by their level of debt and 12 per cent indicated they doubt they will ever be completely free of debt.

Forty-eight per cent of those surveyed said it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their paycheque were delayed just one week, up slightly from the annual poll’s average of 47 per cent over the past three years.

The report, released Wednesday, comes in the wake of economic data indicating Canada experienced two consecutive quarters of contraction – technically speaking, a recession – although home sales in August (except in Alberta) were strong and a report last week showed 12,000 net jobs were created last month.

Clearly the answer to the debt problem is more debt in the form of a home equity loan! Read the full article here.

Federal audit looks at Vancouver Real Estate transactions

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Vangrl pointed out this story in the Province:

Vancouver’s booming real estate industry is being targeted in a federal money-laundering audit that could potentially lead to massive fines and jail time for realtors.

Ottawa’s increased examination of Vancouver real estate deals has been under way for several months and has been revealed in a Province investigation that obtained rare internal data and risk-analysis reports from Canada’s financial intelligence unit, Fintrac.

Documents obtained under access to information law — and The Province’s interviews with a wide array of B.C. real estate professionals, money laundering experts and Fintrac officials — suggest dramatic under-reporting of large cash transactions and suspicious transactions that realtors and developers are responsible to make to the federal government.

“We have significantly increased our examinations in the Vancouver area,” a Fintrac official said. “Our compliance people are not happy.”

Read the full article here.

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