Category Archives: Canada

BC seeks Ottawa support on money laundering

The BC Attorney General is headed to Ottawa to ask for more support to crack down on money laundering.

He plans to outline the challenges here in BC before the federal Finance Committee.

“The issues that we’re grappling with around real estate and casinos, and the seriousness of the impact that gang violence has when these gangs are able to launder money,” he outlines.

“The federal government has a huge role to play in supporting British Columbia in our fight against money laundering. The role really includes key actors like Fintrac, which is the anti-money laundering agency that receives all the reports from casinos, realtors, [and] notaries,” says Eby.

He believes drug dealers and other criminals have been spending millions of dollars in illegally gained cash at local casinos and then getting clean bills back in return. He has said the issue is so prevalent here, experts call it “the Vancouver Model.”

He’s pushing for more support and coordination to clamp down on money laundering. He also wants more public accountability.

Read the full article here.

Toronto prices drop 12% as sales plunge

Toronto is becoming a better and better investment as prices fall, you just need to buy when they’ve stopped falling. Right now they’re seeing quite a price drop.

Re-sale home prices in the Toronto region dropped 12.4 per cent, or about $110,000, year over year in February.

The average price fell to $767,818, from $875,983 for all housing categories, including detached, semi-detached, town homes and condos.

The number of sales also plunged nearly 35 per cent last month compared to Feburary 2017 — to 5,175 transactions from last year’s record 7,955, according to the latest statistics from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) on Tuesday.

Read the full article here.

How sharp a correction?

Most economist are predicting a slower housing market in Canada, but how slow is too slow?

Southseacompany points to this article wondering how ‘sharp’ any correction would be:

Last week, the Bank of Canada hiked the overnight rate to 1.25 per cent, causing the credit union to note that Canadians have some of the highest levels of household debt in the world.

The interest rate hike — when combined with a new mortgage stress test for uninsured borrowers that came into effect on January 1 — could severely limit the purchasing power of many would-be home buyers, cooling the market dramatically.

But while most economists agree that these factors will dampen the market in the first few months of 2018, many believe it will eventually adjust to the changes. What’s more, some argue that Canadians debt levels aren’t as worrying as they might first appear.

“Household debt in Canada is seen by some as unsustainably high and a source of vulnerability for the financial system,” write National Bank chief economist Stéfane Marion and senior economist Matthieu Arseneau in a recent report. “But the international evidence suggests that Canadian household leverage and home prices are not abnormal.”

Read the full article here.

Mortgages getting more expensive

Southseacompany shared this article, looks like everyone’s mortgage is going to get more expensive:

The Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate to 1.25 per cent Wednesday and signalled that, barring certain risks, more hikes are likely in the rest of the year. That’s creating an unusual situation for Canadians: for the first time in years, those renewing mortgages will be faced with higher rates and an increase in payments.

Even before Wednesday’s decision, five of the country’s largest banks hiked five-year fixed rates 15 basis points to 5.14 per cent last week. (CIBC is still offering 4.99 per cent.) In a country where consumers have grown accustomed to low rates, and where households are burdened with record levels of debt relative to income, this kind of change is worth noting. A recent survey published by insolvency trustee MNP Ltd.found 48 per cent of Canadian respondents were $200 or less away from being unable to fulfill their monthly financial obligations, an eight point increase since September.

Read the full article over at Macleans.

Tougher to get a mortgage in 2018

In the new year we’ll see a ‘stress test‘ added to all new uninsured mortgages, are you ready for that?

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Canada’s banking regulator, confirmed earlier today that there will now be a qualifying “stress test” for all uninsured mortgages, affecting consumers with downpayments of 20 percent or more.

Under current housing rules, only borrowers with a downpayment of less than 20 percent require mortgage insurance. This category of borrowers are already subject to a mortgage “stress test” that was introduced back in July 2016, amidst concerns about rising household indebtedness.

Right now, if you’re applying for a mortgage with a downpayment of 20 percent or more, the lender will assess if your financial situation is robust enough to afford a five-year mortgage qualifying rate, which currently sits in the range of 4.64 to 4.89 percent.

Under the new rules, OSFI will require that lenders use that same five-year mortgage rate plus two percent — essentially you’ll need to have income that qualifies you to afford an interest rate on a home loan of roughly seven percent.

Dave Madani says this is equivalent to a 17% reduction in the maximum mortgage people will be able to qualify for. Read the full article over at Vice.