Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

Bank ratings go negative

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

At the end of last week S&P cut the rating for Canadian banks to negative.

Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto- Dominion Bank and four other Canadian lenders’ rating outlooks were cut to negative by Standard & Poor’s, which cited regulations that seek to limit government support in a crisis.

Canadian officials issued regulatory proposals Aug. 1 aimed at relieving taxpayers from the burden of potential bailouts if key banks fail. The new rules mandate any new senior unsecured debt issued by a so-called systemically important bank must be convertible to equity if the firm faces insolvency. The proposals are open to public consultations until Sept. 12.

Read the full article here.

Friday Free-for-all! Luxury Credit.

Friday, August 8th, 2014

You made it to the end of another work week, and that means it’s time to do our regular Friday Free-for-all post here at VCI.

This is our 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:

-Price changes and credit (graph)
-Why so many doomers?
-High prices raise debt levels
-Perspective on foreign buyer levels
-3rd try for Versace in Vancouver
-

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

What’s wrong with Canada’s economy?

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Economists are apparently ‘scratching their heads‘ over Canada’s humdrum economic growth.

The US has been growing new jobs lately, but not so much here at home.

In June, Canada lost 9,400 positions and the jobless rate edged up to 7.1%, the highest reading in six months. On Friday, Statistics Canada will release its labour force survey for July.

The Canadian economy “should improve next year when stronger U.S. growth helps to boost hiring and investment here at home,” the Conference Board’s Mr. Hodgson said in Tuesday’s report.

Read the full article over at the Vancouver Sun.

Americans moving for affordable housing

Monday, August 4th, 2014

The fastest growing cities in America are now the ones where housing is more affordable than average.

This is a change from the early part of the millennium where credit was easy and mortgages were easy to get.

Rising rents and the difficulty of securing a mortgage on the coasts have proved a boon to inland cities that offer the middle class a firmer footing and an easier life. In the eternal competition among urban centers, the shift has produced some new winners.

Oklahoma City, for example, has outpaced most other cities in growth since 2011, becoming the 12th-fastest-growing city last year. It has also won over a coveted demographic, young adults age 25 to 34, going from a net loss of millennials to a net gain. Other affordable cities that have jumped in the growth rankings include several in Texas, including El Paso and San Antonio, as well as Columbus, Ohio, and Little Rock, Ark.

Newcomers in Oklahoma City have traded traffic jams and preschool waiting lists for master suites the size of their old apartments. The sons of Lorin Olson, a stem cell biologist who moved here from New York’s Upper East Side, now ride bikes in their suburban neighborhood and go home to a four-bedroom house. Hector Lopez, a caricature artist, lives in a loft apartment here for less than he paid to stay in a garage near Los Angeles. Tony Trammell, one of a group of about a dozen friends to make the move from San Diego, paid $260,000 for his 3,300-square-foot home in a nearby suburb.

Read the full article in the NY Times.

If you’ve tried to hire someone from outside Vancouver for a position here, you may be aware of the challenge presented by expensive housing.

Who wants a housing market crash?

Monday, July 14th, 2014

You might want a housing market crash (or ‘correction’ if the word ‘crash’ is too strong), but that’s likely because you want to buy a house.

It’s not hard to believe that the majority of Canadians don’t long for a housing market correction, especially those who own property.

It feels good when your equity rises right? What’s not to like?

The Financial Post looks at these feelings, and whether they are sensible or not.

They split home-owers into three categories: First time buyers, young owners with growing families and older owners thinking about downsizing.

They say the first two groups would actually benefit from a crash.

If you’re wondering why most homeowners should be begging for a housing market crash read the article here and let us know if you agree with their reasoning.

 

The everything bubble: how does it end?

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Does every major asset seem expensive to you right now?  Does it seem overpriced?

Well, what if it is, where do we end up?

The NY Times has an article titled How The Everything Boom might end: The Good, Bad and the ugly.

Basically it breaks down into (1) the good: Low price of capital unleashes productivity, economy grows into current valuations. (2) The bad: Japan style stagnation 15 years of low rates and low returns or (3) the ugly: spike in prices with a depressed economy.

But the pattern of the last few years shows that the “bad” scenario has been closest to the reality. That doesn’t mean the rest of the bad script will continue in the years ahead, but it should prompt those predicting the first or third outcome to wrestle with why they have been wrong so far.

So what do you think? Whats the future look like from your view point and would it have been any easier to predict the future in the past?

Could we get some big companies here?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

This is an interesting post over at medium- basically positing that high home prices in Vancouver threaten it’s future, and proposing a tax to try to change that risk:

The secret that no-one actually wants to talk about is that the quality of a city is mostly determined by a simple factor — the number of smart, ambitious people who live there. These people are the ones who want to drive that city forward by investing in opening businesses, donating their time to the arts & community, participating in city planning, etc… Without them, growth wouldn’t happen and you wouldn’t get all of the benefits that great cities enjoy.

The biggest contributor to the decline of a great city is simple — it’s the decline of those smart people. When they decide that the cost of living in a place outweighs the benefit, they move. They don’t just take their money with them, they take their intellectual and future capital with them. This is dangerous. When people aren’t willing to make an investment in a place to live any more, the city doesn’t just lose their taxes for the year, they lose a massive function of potential jobs created, culture added and future capital they can put to work.

There are two issues here: the generation of local business opportunity and an attempt to draw established business head offices to town.

What do you think of a proposal for a housing tax that attempts to encourage economic development?

The Real Estate Agent Bubble.

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Does this stat surprise you?

About 1 in 245 Canadians over 19 is a Real Estate Agent.

We have almost as many people in the country selling real estate as we have building it.

This according to an article in the Financial Post

Royal LePage chief executive Phil Soper blames this increase on what he calls ‘speculative’ agents.

“This is a real regional story. If you look at Quebec, where they took a different approach to licensing and professionalism by increasing the length of time and difficulty to get your licence, their ranks have shrunk,”

So who’s out there getting their real estate license?  Sounds like this is the easy path to riches and as long as we get enough churn in the market there should be plenty of commissions to go around, right?

Read the full article here.

High prices: sign of a sick or healthy market?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

When you own something you might be delighted to hear that the price is rising.

Even if you don’t sell it to cash in, there’s a certain amount of psychological comfort to be found in owning something ‘valuable’.

So it’s not remarkable that many people are delighted by the rising cost of real estate in Canada.

But is this just the economic equivalent of a sugar high?  If all homes are rising in price you don’t really benefit from selling unless you leave the market or downsize to where the percentages are smaller.

Jonathan Miller, a US real estate appraiser posted an article comparing the US and Canadian markets.

He makes the point that sharply rising prices in US markets didn’t work out to be indicative of a markets health, rather they led to the inevitable hangover when the party was over.

Is it different here?

New CMHC rules: How much impact?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

At first glance the new CMHC rules sounds like a minor tweak rather than a major change, and it might be just that.

When the CMHC announced the change they specified that the products being eliminated made up less than 3% of their insured mortgage products by number of mortgages.  What we haven’t seen anywhere are numbers in mortgage value, and BOM pointed this out yesterday:

Read this:

“The Crown corporation has been offering insurance on second homes since 2005. It has been offering insurance to self-employed people without strong income validation since 2007.”

And then read this:

“CMHC says its second home program and its self-employed-without-third-party-income-validation programs combined account for less than 3 per cent of its insurance business volumes in term of the numbers of mortgages insured.”

CHMC has a pool of mortgages insured accumulated over the last 25 years. They have only offered the products they are cancelling for 7 to 9 years but they make up 3% of that pool. Simple math indicates over the last 7 years about 10% of mortgages would have been part of the program they are cancelling otherwise it could never reach 3% of the total pool which was already significant prior to the program starting.

So how much demand was there for insured mortgages on second homes and mortgages for the self employed without income verification?  The numbers may be higher than we first thought.

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