Category Archives: hype

Vancouver condo presales, locals to get first crack

The Mayor is said to be drafting a motion that will give local buyers first chance to buy crack condos:

Mayor Gregor Robertson will introduce a motion to give local residents first crack at pre-sale condo sales Tuesday during a Vancouver city council meeting.

The motion asks city staff to draft a policy framework as part of the city’s “Housing Reset” plan.

Critics of the real estate industry have raised concerns about how the increasingly speculative pre-sale market is pushing up prices in both the pre-sale and resale market, and is preventing local residents from buying.

Presumably this will help to end the homeless problem in Vancouver by giving locals easier access to condo presales.

Read the full article here.

Mortgage rules are working to cool market

Pointed out by SouthSeaCompany: Mortgage rule changes are cooling housing market: Morneau

“Finance Minister Bill Morneau says last October’s sweeping mortgage rule changes aimed at cooling Canada’s housing market have successfully dampened high-risk borrowing.”

“But despite a report urging Ottawa to look at ways of boosting support for Canadians entering the housing market, the Minister ruled out any new measures along those lines, expressing concern that such an approach would encourage higher house prices.”

Read the full article over at the Globe and Mail.

We’re super-addicted to real estate fees

This is just kind of sad if it’s true, an analyst says that the associated fees for buying and selling real estate (commissions, taxes, legal costs and fees) make up a stunning 1.9% of GDP.

That’s more than agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting combined.

Doyle points out that the U.S. was relying big time on home ownership transfer fees in 2005, when its real estate market peaked. But even then, those fees made up only about 1.5 per cent of U.S. GDP. Now, years after the U.S. housing market crash, transfer fees make up less than one per cent.

In Canada, upcoming data will likely show those fees have already started to fall, as the number of home sales across the country fell in June by the most in seven years.

Doyle says Canada’s increased reliance on real estate fees can be blamed on years of ultra-low interest rates, worsened during the oil price slump when the Bank of Canada cut rates even further.

“I think they felt that the lesser of two evils in that situation was to cut interest rates,” Doyle said.

But that fix has helped put Canada in another tricky situation, where the economy relies to an unusual extent on home transactions. That could have particularly negative consequences as the central bank begins to raise rates again.

“The drag on the economy that’s going to flow from [higher rates], I think, will prove to be much more severe than it’s been in the past,” Doyle said.

Read the full article here.

That foreign buyer tax

Well it’s been a year since the BC government brought in a ‘foreign buyer tax‘ in the Vancouver metro area.  How’s that affected the market?

“The public perception is that it hasn’t brought down prices and has had no effect,” said Simon Fraser University professor Josh Gordon, a political scientist in the university’s school of public policy. “But the slowdown in price increases is a positive.”

Even before the tax was implemented, Mr. Gordon said it was unlikely to have a huge impact since it was not targeting all foreign money, much of which comes in with new immigrants who are not affected by the tax.

He and others have always said that the province – or country – would need to add many more measures: more investigation into the sources of money coming into the country; more rigorous pursuit of people avoiding capital-gains tax on their real-estate transactions; a more comprehensive tax that targets people not paying income-tax in Canada.

Mr. Gordon believes that, if the lack of dramatic impact from the tax proves anything, it’s that people in Vancouver have a profound belief that the market will continue to rise.

Read the full article over at the Globe and Mail.

CMHC keeps crying ‘Wolf’

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation keeps on giving the national real estate market it’s worst possible rating. You can probably guess which cities get singled out as the most at risk:

CMHC’s valuation is part of its quarterly Housing Market Assessment, something the Crown corporation calls an early warning system, alerting Canadians to areas of concern developing in housing markets so that they may take action in a way that promotes market stability.

In terms of the 15 individual markets studied, CMHC said it saw strong evidence of overall problematic conditions in Victoria, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Hamilton and Toronto – the same five markets singled out a quarter ago.

CMHC defines problematic conditions as imbalances in the housing market that occur when overbuilding, overvaluation, overheating and price acceleration, or combinations of those issues exceed historical norms.

Read the full article here.