Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

Mayor backs real estate speculation tax

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robinson has come out in support of a speculation tax on real estate purchases.

We definitely need taxation tools that discourage speculation on real estate,” a statement from Robertson says. “It’s clear that rampant speculation on real estate is driving up prices in Vancouver. Vancouver needs the B.C. Government to take action on creating a speculation tax and recognize that we need a fair and level playing field to make housing more affordable for residents in Vancouver, and throughout the province.

Read the full article here.

Housing costs in bc ‘pretty reasonable’

Monday, May 18th, 2015

The BC Housing Minister has clarified whether or not his ministry or the government will collect data on real estate buyers:

“I don’t believe we should be in the market place,” Coleman said, referring to his ministry, “and we have not had any request to go and do this work … There is no initiative at this time in government to go and interfere in the market place in regards to housing.”

The collecting of any data is not necessary because housing cost are actually pretty reasonable when you look at it right:

“I believe that the market place adjusts. If you notice over the years, it has fluctuations up and fluctuations down. If you look at the mean cost of housing across British Columbia and you compare it to other major cities worldwide, the reason it is attractive internationally is because it’s actually pretty reasonable compared to other cities like London, Singapore, Tokyo,” Coleman answered.

It’s actually a VERY favourable comparison. Initially we thought he was asking us to compare Vancouver housing prices to London house prices, but then we realized he was actually asking us to compare the mean cost of housing across the province of BC to a city like London.

Other than the differences those two things are very much alike.

Read the full article over at VanCity Buzz.

Friday Free-for-all!

Friday, May 15th, 2015

It’s that time of the week again…

Friday Free-for-all time!

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:

-How about more taxes?
-Not all owners oppose lower prices
-Equity Protection
-What a realtor says
-The premier wedge issue?
-Lessons learned in the 80s?
-Harper warns of high debt

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

 

BC Premier has a message for first time buyers

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

A recent petition seems to have gotten enough attention to get the Premier to comment on the issue of limits to foreign buyers of BC real estate.  This article say’s she’s sitting on the fence, but her quote seems to pretty clearly have a message for struggling first time buyers in BC:

“By trying to move foreign buyers out of the market, housing prices overall will drop. That’s good for first time home buyers, but not for anybody who’s depending on the equity in their home to maybe get a loan or use that to finance some other projects.”

Which category do you think holds about 70% of the voting population?

Canadians deep in debt and getting deeper

Monday, May 11th, 2015

The Globe and Mail nicely sums up the current Canadian obsession with taking on household debt. This infographic has all the pretty charts related to the current situation in which current debt totals a record $1.8 trillion. Just over a trillion of that is Mortgage debt, with the other big growth seen in lines of credit and car loans.

One Trillion is a big number and it can be hard to visualize.  Here’s one way to put it into perspective:

If you spent $1-million every day, it would take you 2,740 years to spend $1-trillion.

Albertans carry the largest debt to income ratio followed by BC. It seems the nation loves debt, but the west loves it best.

Read the full article here.

Vancouver Realtors getting less hungry.

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

RFM has posted an updated Vancouver Realtor Hunger Index for April 2015.

The index now stands at 37%.

As RFM says:

he VANCOUVER REALTOR HUNGER INDEX is the percent of realtors who earned no commission income for the stated month. For April 2015 the VRHI was 37%. How does this compare? The 18-year average for April is 41%. At 37%, the 2015 April VRHI was higher than 5 years, the same as one year and lower than 11 years since 1998. Sales outpacing listings? Prices strongly increasing? Consult the DSM-5 for a complete explanation! (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders.)

Details and comparison data for 18 years at: http://vancouverpeak.com/showthread.php?tid=64

Angry tweets won’t bring prices down.

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Well! They could have told us this earlier and saved us a lot of time… Turns out desperate tweets won’t solve our housing cost problems.

Sociologist Nathan Lauster calls the current clash the “intergenerational drama of urban house ownership as a life goal.”

“It produces this sensation for a lot of people like you’re trying to make a home on quicksand,” says Lauster, who is part of UBC’s urban studies department.

“So you’re trying to do everything that you think is right, everything that your parents have done, and it’s still not going to be enough.”

But home ownership hasn’t always been the ultimate goal for a family. In Germany, for instance, renting is the norm.

And in Vancouver, in recent years, it seems people don’t just want a home, they want a perfect home, tearing down old stock to build new mansions, ripping rather than renovating.

“There are a lot of different ways to live. But a lot of policy and a lot of our intergenerational culture has encouraged only one way, and that’s the single family house,” says Lauster.

‘Dr. Zen’ in the comments section of that article has one possible fix:

Solution… leave Vancouver. You will not regret it.

Read the full article here.

 

Let the grandkids solve the TFSA problem.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

If you’re someone who has your money somewhere other than Vancouver real estate you’re probably familiar with the TFSA.  And you probably know the limit has just been doubled to $10k a year.

Critics say this move only helps the wealthy and creates a future tax problem.

Joe Oliver says we should leave that problem for the PMs grand-daughter to solve.

On Tuesday’s The Exchange with Amanda Lang on CBC News Network, the finance minister told Lang that criticism of his recently unveiled budget is unfounded, arguing that the benefits for Canadians today more than offset any future revenue problems associated with it that may or may not ever come to pass.

The doubling of the TFSA limit to $10,000 per taxpayer every year was a core plank of Oliver’s balanced budget. But critics including the opposition parties and private sector economists have said the populist move will create a revenue problem for governments down the line, as more and more investments get protected from taxation.

So what do you think about the TFSA limit increase? A tool only for the wealthy or a bit of extra help for savers?

Hot American Money?

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

If you’re looking for someone to blame for high house prices (anyone but locals!) you’ve got a new scapegoat: Americans.

The Province has an article saying the falling CAD means that US buyers are responsible for the biggest surge in the local market over the last year.

Asian buyers make up about 60 per cent of foreign buyers of Metro Vancouver real estate, according to a story published by the Financial Times on Good Friday.

But buyers from the U.S. accounted for the biggest surge in the Vancouver market in the past year, the story said.

The article also said the Vancouver market is unique because record prices seem to have little impact on buyers’ enthusiasm.

Read the full article here.

CMHC & Genworth increase mortgage insurance premiums.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

An article over at the Financial Post by Garry Marr asks if recent hikes in mortgage insurance fees are targeting first time buyers.

The move by Genworth Canada, which matches an increase announced Thursday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. will raise insurance costs by 15% for those Canadians with the highest debt-value mortgages allowed by Ottawa.

Of course lets keep things in perspective here – that 15% increase may result in an extra cost of about $5 dollars a month.

You’d have to be really stretched for that to be an issue.

Rob McLister, founder of ratespy.com, said insurers are padding their margins and doing it for loans that usually result in the least amount of money recovered during defaults.

Read the full article here.

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