Category Archives: economy

How the boom ends: whimper or bang?

So we’ve gotten to the point where it’s pretty unanimously agreed that real estate in Toronto and Vancouver is over-valued and due for a correction.

The question now is what sort of an end to this housing boom we will be looking at.

Will this be an explosive toppling of values, a market that runs head first into a wall, or will it be a simple slow leak for years and years?

..And which would be better?

You can add David Rosenberg to the list of people that say ‘whimper, not bang‘.

His latest comments fall into the ‘not a bubble, a balloon’ camp:

“Prices are starting to deflate by 0.8% YoY, though more like air coming out a balloon slowly than a giant pop,” wrote Rosenberg Tuesday in his morning note.

“It is gradually becoming a buyer’s market with the inventory of unsold homes rising to six month’s supply, which is at the edge of a balanced market.”

Of course most of that drop nationally is being driven by Vancouver where everything is falling fastest.  What remains to be seen is whether the current drop will remain even or accelerate.

Island markets have that sinking feeling

If you’re curious what a market looks like when it’s been falling for a while check out these stats for different areas on the island.

John Cooper of ReMax provides some good stats packages for various Vancouver island markets.

It looks like a lot of the outlying areas and recreational property in BC isn’t doing as hot as it once was.

In Qualicum Parksville, a single condo sold last month.

Chinese buyers move to the USA

If you’re wondering why we haven’t heard as much about wealthy chinese buyers lately as prices drift down in Vancouver, maybe it’s because they’re moving to the USA.

“California has always been popular with Asian buyers,” he told beyondbrics. “But whereas before it was mainly buyers from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan, now we are seeing more mainland buyers visiting.”

Reasons for purchases vary, say those who have dealt with overseas Chinese buyers. Some are buying because they want to emigrate or they have children who will go to school in the US. More and more Chinese millionaires are looking to settle in the US or at least secure residency rights.

 And why would they be buying in the US as opposed to Canada?
Others buy because the numbers add up: the renminbi is relatively strong against the US dollar and property prices are cheap compared to Australia or Canada.
But it’s not supposed to work like that!  Wealthy people aren’t supposed to look for good deals..
Are they?
Read the full article on ft.com

We want a nice housing bubble

I’m so sick of hearing realtors and mortgage brokers complain about the new CMHC rules.

The government isn’t really bringing in some tough new restrictions, they’re simply rolling back some of their bubble incentives.

The Feds clearly wanted to juice housing and that’s what they got.

Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says the No. 1 risk to the Canadian economy is a housing bubble. Good grief! How on earth did rock-stable, good-banking, solid-regulating Canada end up on the edge of a possible real estate crisis? Simple. In Canada as elsewhere, housing is a political business policymakers find irresistible. There’s always some government policy — low interest rates, first-time home-buyer incentives, high-ratio mortgages, mortgage insurance, capital gains exemptions, interest deductibility — available to government agencies to bolster the feel-good business of home ownership.

It’s a global phenomenon, from Ireland to Spain, from Britain to the United States. Housing bubbles — rocketing prices following by plummeting prices — are not new to the world economy. The last decade, however, has left an unprecedented trail of housing price chaos and disaster. The similarities from one country to another are unmistakable.

We saw what was happening in the states, and still the government moved amorts from 30 to 40 years and flooded the housing market with money. Where did they expect this to lead?

Condo holes across Vancouver

Much has been made about the huge number of condo towers under construction in Toronto, but here in much tinier Vancouver we’re not doing so bad.

There are currently 16 towers in progress and 67 more in the works.

With population growth and prices on the retreat will there be enough buyers for all these new units or are we over-saturating the condo market?

Cameron Muir says don’t worry:

“Prices have been pretty flat since 2009,” Muir said. “There’s ample supply in the market place, but we are seeing prices at a steady pace.”

The fact more condos than single-detached homes are being built in Greater Vancouver is nothing new, said Muir, as condo starts have consistently made up about 75 per cent of all housing starts in the last several years. “It’s a function of land supply.”

Consumer demand during the last several months is trending on a 10 to 15 year average, he added.
One indicator, says Muir, of the demand-and-supply balance in the marketplace is the sales-to-new-listings ratio.

In Vancouver last month, the ratio, at 15.3 per cent, inched closer to a buyer’s market – but sits within the balanced range of between 15 to 20 per cent.

There hasn’t been a sustained buyer’s market since the recession hit, between late 2008 to early 2009.

..And of course it’s starting to smell like 08/09 again with the Eurocrisis and global economic sluggishness, but is it different this time?

Here’s one thing that’s different: Out in Burnaby yet another condo presale had a lineup, but what a waste of time for the participants according to VMD:

re: polygon’s “MODA” presale in Burnaby that opened today, with some people camping since Monday…

sold today: 138
total units: 249
ratio: 55%

yawn.

Wow. Can you imagine waiting in line for a week for something that sells only 55% of inventory?

Fizzle.