Category Archives: economy

How much more will Vancouver prices drop?

Scotiabank is now warning about the housing market falling across Canada.

They are predicting a nationwide drop of 10% over the next two to three years.

That’s the national drop they predict, saying bigger drops are coming to Vancouver and Toronto.

But how much more overvalued are we on a national scale and what sort of drops will we see here and in Toronto to drive national prices down 10%?  They don’t say, but they do remark on how long it took earlier market declines to recover:

The report notes that previous housing market downturns — in the 1970s and 1990s — took eight or nine years to bounce back to price levels seen before the decline.

“Historically, long cycles of rising home prices have been followed by extended periods of persistent softness, allowing affordability to be gradually restored and generating renewed pent-up demand,” the report stated.

The bank also warned that “balance sheets heavily skewed to real estate leave Canadians vulnerable to an adverse shock, including a sharp rise in unemployment and/or a sharp drop in home prices.”

The report predicts a “spillover effect” into construction employment, which — thanks to the massive run-up in house prices — has seen employment grow twice as fast as the economy as a whole.

However, “the full impact of the slowdown may not become fully visible until mid-decade,” the report stated.

Read the full article here.

 

Flaherty won’t ‘stand by’ in recession

The more things change the more they stay the same.

The president is back in the white house and there’s rumbling of a fiscal crisis again.

Flaherty has said he’s not going to take another recession lying down.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney both pledged Wednesday to take action to support the economy if a shock from the U.S., or Europe, threatened to once again plunge the country into recession.

“We are a pragmatic, sensible government. If our economy goes into recession because of an external shock from the United States or the eurozone, or both, we will take steps to stimulate the economy,” Flaherty told the Commons finance committee in an evening session.

“What we have done before we will do again. We will not do exactly the same thing again…but we are not going to stand by and have the Canadian economy slip deep into a recession with high unemployment.”

Bear vs. Bull in the Battle of Vancouver

Haven’t you always wanted to see housing market data presented as an exciting battle map?

Somewhat more exciting than your average excel sheet, VMD has started a Battle of Vancouver thread over at Vancouverpeak.com where he’s got maps showing the ups and downs of the market for condos and single family homes.

It’s interesting that you really get a sense of things changing on the periphery first.

There’s a stripe of red in the centre where prices are still up year over year. Here’s the map for Single Family Homes:

There’s a similar thing happening in Condo prices, although more areas are Year over Year negative there.  Oh, and for extra excitement on this map there’s TANKS! (each tank represents a single percent point up or down):

Click here to view the full thread on Vancouverpeak.com

..And if you have stuff to share over there, here are a few more invite codes to register for a user account:

p3k0-icze-u2up
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vaw6-smid-p49u
30v5-2sfh-6ozj
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BC has the highest personal debt loads

We’re number 1!

The province of British Columbia has the highest level of personal debt anywhere in Canada and it’s still growing.

With incomes low and house prices high, it’s not an entirely unexpected result.  But even if you remove house debt we have very high levels.  Not including mortgage debt, simple consumer debt averages $37,879 in BC.

And that of course has led to a rising number of bankruptcies. In the last four years bankruptcy rates across Canada have gone up 11%, here in BC the number is up 42%.

That Province article also talks about the ‘elation’ of declaring bankruptcy, but that usually only occurs after some one has used up all their other options and burnt up money they could have kept:

“People often come to see a trustee as a last resort, when credit is turned off and they can no longer borrow from one card to pay another,” Mantin says. “They come in and say ‘I regret that I didn’t know about these options sooner. All I’ve done over the last two years is tread water.'”

Frantic people make decisions that will compromise their future, Mantin says. One of the worst is cashing in RRSPs.

For one thing, only the last 12 months of RRSP contributions need be surrendered in a bankruptcy. And those who sacrifice an RRSP without learning to live within a budget are not facing the underlying issue, Mantin says.

“Unless they’re forced to make a behavioural change, I often find they’re in the same position a year or two later,” he says. “They’ve dealt with the short-term debt but haven’t solved the budget problem so they run their debts up again.”

Read the full article here.

The presales suing starts again

If you’ve been in Vancouver for a few years you may remember the last time the market took a dip was in 2008.

As prices fell we started to see more and more stories about buyers trying to get out of presales contracts and developers going after buyers for the difference between their deposit and the current market value of the condo.

Well looks like we’re starting to see legal wrangling over presales contracts again, the most recent one is buyers trying to get out of their purchase agreements at the Hotel Georgia.

Falling Vancouver real-estate prices and widespread expectations that they’ll fall further have sparked a rise in lawsuits from condo buyers who want to get out of their presale contracts.

The trend underscores the importance for developers to scrupulously follow the Real Estate Development Marketing Act (REDMA) – because failure to do so can render sales contracts unenforceable and enable buyers to get their deposits back.

“People wouldn’t be looking for the return of their deposits if the units were worth more than or as much as they purchased them for,” Harper Grey LLP partner Bryan Baynham told Business in Vancouver.

The most recent string of lawsuits involves Georgia Properties Partnership’s (GPP) Residences at Hotel Georgia project, which is set to be complete in December – one year later than the developer promised buyers.

Baynham had filed six lawsuits from buyers of units at the Residences at Hotel Georgia as of October 24. He expects to file more.

The project has 156 units. As of September, 96 were sold.

If prices continue to fall in Vancouver you can bet we’ll see more legal action over presales contracts, both from buyers and developers.