Category Archives: opinion

Rate hikes threaten the middle-class dream

In Canada ‘middle class’ currently seems to mean ‘deep in debt’ and rate hikes are a looming threat on the middle class :

For one view of Canada’s rate hike, consider the case of David and Neera. He can’t get a raise, is worried about retirement and they borrowed money a couple years ago to fix the roof. Interest costs will jump now, with vacations and kids’ clothes already out of reach.

Justin Trudeau’s entire economic agenda is aimed at David and Neera — we know, because he invented them. Their story anchored the Liberal government’s debut budget, tying together the impact of all the prime minister’s measures. Now they’re a cautionary tale.

“Canadian families are also taking on more debt to make ends meet,” the 2016 budget said. “For David and Neera, this debt is a constant source of worry.”

Read the full article over that the Financial Post.

Good time to be sitting on a $800k down payment

With interest rates going up there’s good news and bad news for housing. It can make it tough for people who are stretched thin financially, but might be good news for people waiting to buy:

The people who will benefit are those who have a nest egg and have been waiting for the right time to buy a home, he said.

“The real winner here is somebody sitting on a $800,000 down payment who says I’m going to wait for prices to fall.”

Overall, interest rates will continue to rise, added Brander. He predicts mortgage-lending rates could increase by several percentage points in the coming years. But as long as those increases are incremental, like Wednesday’s announcement, the economy will be able to absorb it, he said.

Seems like it’s always a good time to be sitting on an $800k down payment, but maybe we’re just optimists. Read the full article here.

Secrets of the Real Estate industry

These may not actually count as ‘secrets’, but over at the Tyee they have a list of 9 things the real estate industry doesn’t want you to know:

You’ve heard it a million times. The reason so few of us can afford Vancouver is because there aren’t enough new homes being built. This is the version of reality that real estate industry leaders and their political allies want us to believe.

But an investigation of the industry by The Tyee has revealed reality to be much more complex. Over the past six months I spoke at length with financial analysts, economists, industry consultants, realtors and many others to learn the true causes of Vancouver’s housing crisis and who is profiting from it. They were in broad agreement that real estate is at the centre of a massive realignment between our society’s rich and poor — and one that few leaders in the industry seem willing to publicly acknowledge.

About half of the items on their list have to do with the class divide and the disappearing middle class.

Read the full article here.

Bank of Canada concerned about debt and housing market

The Bank of Canada is still worried about housing debt levels in Canada and joins the OECD in expressing that concern:

The two biggest concerns on the bank’s radar are also intertwined. It said the growth in mortgage lending in Toronto and Vancouver has largely fuelled an increase in Canada’s overall household indebtedness since the bank’s last review six months ago.

“Highly indebted households have less flexibility to deal with sudden changes in their income,” said the bank.

“As the number of these households grows, it is more likely that adverse economic shocks to households would significantly affect the economy and the financial system.”

The document was released as concerns about the Canadian real estate market — domestically and from abroad — continue to pile up.

Read the full article over at the Financial Post.

Why are investors fleeing Canada?

Canada’s economy is booming, expanding at a 3.7% annual rate in the first quarter. And yet…

Meanwhile, in a year when stocks are rising everywhere, Canada’s benchmark index is the second-worst-performer in the developed world after Israel, according to Bloomberg data. It’s a similar story in currency and bond markets.

The performance underscores how, even with the improving economic performance, caution prevails. Investors remain concerned about geopolitical risks such as U.S. trade protectionism, the outlook for oil prices and a housing market that some analysts say may be on the verge of a correction.

“It is a tad curious to say the least that the Canadian economy arguably has been one of the bigger pleasant surprises in 2017 and meanwhile the equity market has done a belly flop,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal, who highlighted the disconnect between Canadian growth and market performance in a May 26 note.

Energy shares are down 10 percent year-to-date, while fears about contagion from a run on deposits at troubled mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc. have weighed on financial shares, which are down 1.2 percent.

Read the full article over at Bloomberg.