Category Archives: economy

Rate hikes in 2018

Southseacompany points out this article in the Financial Post warning of ‘three or more‘ rate hikes next year.

Investors are assigning a 20 per cent chance of an increase at the decision Wednesday, with a statement to be released at 10 a.m. Ottawa time. Only four of 26 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expect Poloz to increase his 1 per cent benchmark rate, with all major Canadian banks expecting a pause.

Central bank policy makers — who raised borrowing costs for the first time in seven years in July and September — are handling the normalization of policy very carefully. By their own measure, interest rates are still a full 2 percentage points below what they would consider “neutral” but the Bank of Canada is wary of raising borrowing costs too quickly for fear of inadvertently triggering another downturn.

Read the full article here.

BC: The Best Place to Launder Money

Looking to launder some money?

You’d be hard pressed to find a better place to do it than right here in beautiful British Columbia.

“One of the members of the public service said, ‘Get ready. I think we are going to blow your mind.’ While I cannot share all of the details, I can advise you that the briefing outlined for me allegations of serious, large-scale, transnational laundering of the proceeds of crime in British Columbia casinos,” Eby said. “And I was advised that the particular style of money laundering in B.C. related to B.C. casinos is being called, quote, ‘the Vancouver model’ in at least one international intelligence community.”

Eby suggested that a “lax attitude” towards regulation of B.C. casinos, during a period when the previous government had enjoyed “massive increases in provincial gambling revenue,” seems to have contributed to the problems today in B.C.’s gambling system.

Once you’ve had fun in our casinos come join the real fun in our property market where owners get to hide behind ‘opaque legal mechanisms’ for a place to stash cash that pays back!

Eby also said that he believes B.C.’s property ownership system — in which true owners of property can hide behind opaque legal mechanisms — could be attracting foreign criminals and corrupt officials seeking to hide wealth in the province. Eby said Finance Minister Carole James is working on reforms to pull back legal veils that cover true ownership of property and corporations.

Eby pointed to a 2016 study by Transparency International that showed real estate buyers in B.C. are using shell companies, trusts and nominee buyers to hide their beneficial interest in property.

In examining Vancouver’s 100 most valuable homes, the report found that 46 per cent — amounting to more than
 $1 billion in assets — have opaque ownership. Of the 100 properties, 29 are held through shell companies, at least 11 are owned through nominees (listed as students or housewives on land titles), and at least six are disclosed as being held in trust for anonymous beneficiaries, the report said.

Eby said B.C.’s landownership system could be connected to Metro Vancouver’s skyrocketing home prices. Top economists have “made inescapable arguments that taxable incomes reported to Revenue Canada have no connection to real estate values in Metro Vancouver until you get out to the distant suburbs of Vancouver,” Eby said.

This Eby guy sounds like a troublemaker. You know what to do, get out your wallet . With the right motivation we should be able to get this new government on the right side of history and keep the fun going in the casinos and the housing market. Right?

Read the full article here.

City warns owners to declare empty homes

Vancouver is reminding home owners that they have the responsibility to fill in tax forms on any vacant homes they own by Feb 2nd or face a fine. A lack of declaration nets a $250 fine and a false declaration nets a $10,000 fine.

It affects any property that is not a principal residence and is not occupied for six months a year.

Robertson says property owners can expect to receive instructions in the mail starting this week on how to make their declarations.

Read the full article here.

Class action against Airbnb?

Dude Chillin pointed out this article about a Vancouver strata lawyer preparing a class action suit against Airbnb:

A Vancouver strata lawyer says she is preparing a class action lawsuit against Airbnb, alleging the company is “profiting from the unauthorized use of other people’s property.”

Recently, Polina Furtula — who is on the strata council of her Yaletown condo tower — sent demand letters to Airbnb about unauthorized listings in her building. Airbnb notified the hosts of the complaints and shortly afterwards, the hosts decided to remove their listings.

Read the full article here.

How resilient is CMHC to a US style housing crash?

Kabloona points out this article asking yet again how this country would fare in a US style housing market crash, but particularly how the CMHC would fare:

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., which protects financial institutions in the case of consumer default and is 100 per cent backed by Ottawa, said in a release Wednesday that it looked at anti-globalization, earthquakes, a steep oil price fall and a U.S.-style housing correction to see how its insurance portfolio would hold up. It did not look at a combination of any of those scenarios.

The verdict is a U.S.-style correction would be its worst scenario for its insurance program with a cumulative loss of $217 million from 2017 to 2022 which would come on top of a need for the Crown corporation to suspend its dividends to Ottawa. CMHC paid Ottawa a special dividend of $4 billion in June because of excess capital and issued a $240 million dividend in August.

Read the full article here.