Category Archives: debt

Canada to crack down on real estate transaction tax cheats

Looking to cheat on your real estate transaction taxes? Bad news, the CRA has decided it doesn’t want you to and is coming after real estate tax cheats.

From April 2015 to March 2017, the CRA audits of real estate transactions resulted in more than $329.4 million in assessed income that had not been reported. During this time, the CRA applied over $17 million in penalties, primarily associated with Canada’s two major real estate markets in Toronto and Vancouver.

Canadians work hard for their money and the Government of Canada recognizes that many families count their principal residence as both their home and most valued asset.‎ The CRA will continue to strengthen relationships with key partners such as provinces, territories, and municipalities to further expand, obtain, and exchange information on real estate transactions, thereby enhancing the CRA’s ability to combat tax evasion and avoidance.

17 million in penalties? That’s almost enough to buy a fixer-upper on the north shore!

Low interest rates have done their job.

Southseacompany pointed out this article where Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz is reported to have said that low interest rates have done their job.

So what exactly was the job of low interest rates?

Three years ago the BOC was issuing warnings that real estate in Canada was as much as 30% overvalued in some markets and posed a threat to the financial system.

How’s that concern looking these days ?

Bank of Canada concerned about debt and housing market

The Bank of Canada is still worried about housing debt levels in Canada and joins the OECD in expressing that concern:

The two biggest concerns on the bank’s radar are also intertwined. It said the growth in mortgage lending in Toronto and Vancouver has largely fuelled an increase in Canada’s overall household indebtedness since the bank’s last review six months ago.

“Highly indebted households have less flexibility to deal with sudden changes in their income,” said the bank.

“As the number of these households grows, it is more likely that adverse economic shocks to households would significantly affect the economy and the financial system.”

The document was released as concerns about the Canadian real estate market — domestically and from abroad — continue to pile up.

Read the full article over at the Financial Post.

Canadians are most likely non-resident speculators in the US

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the US has just released data on foreign buyers. Noticeably missing from the top five list is China, but at the very top of the top 5 US markets there’s one country: Canada.

That’s right, Canadians are the most likely foreign buyer in the US.

NAR stats show that Canadian and UK buyers are the most likely to buy property for occasional use. Going back to 2016, 80% of Canadian, and 61% of UK buyers were non-resident buyers. To contrast, only 39% of Chinese buyers were non-resident. This means Canadian and UK citizens are more likely to buy property and not move into it. Whereas 61% of Chinese buyers are likely to buy property for relocation.

To understand how impressive this statistic is, you have to look at the relative number of people. China has over 1.317 billion people, and Chinese citizens purchased 29,195 US homes in 2016. That results in 11,386 US homes sold to Chinese citizens for investment or occasional use. To contrast, Canada has 35.85 million people, and Canadian citizens bought 26,851 US homes in 2016. Since 80% of Canadians are non-resident, that’s 21,480 homes for investment or occasional use bought by Canadians just last year.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Read the full article here.

Poloz: HCG problems ‘idiosyncratic’ and contained

Bullwhip29 pointed out this article in the financial post where Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says that the troubles at Home Capital are ‘idiosyncratic‘ and contained:

Poloz said the central bank saw no signs that Home Capital’s deterioration had triggered contagion, according to an interview with the newspaper on the sidelines of the Group of Seven meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Italy.

“We’d be looking for signs that there are problems with the (financial) system as opposed to preoccupying ourselves with individual institutions,” Poloz said.

He also has some stuff to say about the housing market in general:

Poloz also reiterated in the interview the central bank’s view that recent house price increases were not sustainable, and echoed previous statements that some speculation appeared to be at play in the market. He added that did not mean a major price correction was in store.

“Often, when you have a truly unsustainable housing market, you will see very rapid price increases (and) very rapid credit growth,” Poloz said. “But we don’t see that in the credit side, so I do think a significant amount of this that is fundamental, but layered on top, is a speculative element.”

Read the full article here.