Category Archives: Canada

Soft Landing Achieved!

Good news! Despite all the fearmongering, gloom and forecasts of dismay for the Canadian housing market we can now happily report that our market has achieved what the US housing bubble could not – A SOFT LANDING!

“Despite the klieg-light focus on the Canadian housing market this year, its performance has been far from exciting,” said Mr. Porter.

“It increasingly looks like most major markets are indeed undergoing a policy-induced correction. But, for now, the landing looks to be soft in most cities (with some cities actually still lifting off), with the rather obvious exception of Vancouver.”

As Mr. Porter added in an interview, “I don’t think you can call what’s going on in Vancouver a soft landing anymore.”

.. A bumpy landing then?

Read the full article over at the Globe and Mail.

Chumps stumped by Trump pump and dump

Over in Toronto there’s an ongoing saga of the hitherto poor real estate investment that is the Trump Tower.

Many buyers have tried to walk away from their investments are are being sued by the developer to make good on their agreements.

Buyers complain that vacancy rates for the hotel condo product are higher than forecast and the costs to cover operating expenses are too high.

A group of buyers attempted to escape from their contracts by complaining to the Ontario Securities Commission arguing that the developer provided financial projections which were too high and against OSC rules.

Unfortunately for them, the OSC has just decided that they will take no action on the matter.

“After a thorough review of the matter, we have determined not to pursue regulatory action,” Carolyn Shaw-Rimmington, a spokeswoman for the commission, said in an emailed statement.

The regulator began looking into the matter after a series of investors complained that they are losing money on the suites. Talon International Development Inc., the tower’s developer, has been at the centre of the controversy.

Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.

Mark Carney, we hardly knew ye’

Can you believe this?

Mark Carney is leaving us for the Bank of England!

Carney said he and Flaherty had enjoyed an effective partnership and added he will miss the camaraderie and clear sense of purpose he experienced with the finance minister. He praised the strength of the central bank and reiterated his confidence in it.

A smiling Flaherty said this moment is “bittersweet,” and that the loss of Carney will be felt in Canada.

Carney’s rumoured appointment to the Bank of England was the source of published reports last spring, and at the time he and the Bank of Canada denied the reports.

“I’m totally focused on my two responsibilities: as governor of the Bank of Canada, and the Financial Stability Board,” Carney told reporters on April 18. “I can assure you they add up to more than every waking hour of the day.”

I’d leave a job that added up to more than ‘every waking hour of the day’ as well.

RE Lawyer disbarred for sham deals

When the US real estate bubble burst it uncovered a problem:

Mortgage Fraud.

It turns out that some realtors, mortgage brokers and lawyers were pushing through real estate deals that weren’t entirely ethical.  Some groups would use straw buyers purchase property at a price far above what it was worth and then take out a loan for the excessive amount.

Some of that is still being uncovered, here’s a recent instance:

Yeboah admitted participating in the scheme by creating fake W-2 forms, pay stubs, and other records for straw buyers so that her fellow conspirators could collect millions of dollars in kickbacks from fraudulently-obtained mortgage loans. In entering her guilty plea, Yeboah admitted reviewing payment records that showed over $14.5 million in kickbacks were collected from the fraudulent purchase of $100 million in properties.

Now it looks like the problem has spread to Toronto:

Earlier this year, the Star reported a pattern of house flips and price jumps as much as 60 per cent in less than a day involving Hatcher. Most of the deals didn’t include deposits. Purchasers got money back. Mortgages exceeded the value of homes. The same buyers and private lenders popped up in many sales.

 

We love debt even more than Americans

Canadian consumer debt.  It’s not just growing, it’s growing faster.

Transunion has released their latest quarterly analysis and it shows Canadian household debt loads increasing 400% percent faster than inflation.

Statistics Canada pegs Canadian household market debt at an astounding 163% of disposable income.

For comparisons sake, the US housing bubble saw household debt peak in 2007 at 128% of disposable income.  By 2011 the US rate was down to 112%.

The good news? Credit card debt is actually down year over year and delinquencies across all types of debt remain low.

Transunion puts the average household non-mortgage debt at $26,768.  Do you owe more or less than that?

Higgins said the increase stands in stark contrast to encouraging signs from relatively stagnant debt growth in the prior three quarters.

He also points out that in the past five years, debt loads have increased 400 per cent more than the rate of inflation — with inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index up nine per cent and consumer debt jumping more than 37 per cent.

“Debt’s outpacing us and continues to outpace us, so at some point in time there’s going to be a reconciliation,” Higgins said.

“Hopefully it’s not drastic and hopefully it doesn’t hit everybody, but there’s going to be a correction somehow along the way.”

Read the full article over at the CBC.