Category Archives: opinion

Is more supply the answer?

Southseacompany posted a link to this story about housing supply in the Vancouver area.

“What’s causing the supply shortage is the restrictive single-family home neighborhood zoning on 85% of our residential land base. That keeps out young families, middle income earners and renters, who can’t afford single-family homes,” said Anne McMullin, president and CEO of the Urban Development Institute, Pacific Region.

“We clearly need a regional housing strategy with more homes for more people,” she added. “That means more high-rise apartments along rapid transit corridors and more townhomes, rowhomes [and] multi-family low-rises.”

But recent studies show the reverse is true: fewer people can afford to buy condominiums in the Metro suburbs that have seen the greatest increase in supply over the past two years.

Read the full article here.

CMHC looks to make mortgages easier to get

The CEO of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has said that requiring new Canadians and the self employed to prove income is ‘discriminatory’ and they are looking to make mortgages easier to get:

“Right now, under our mortgage insurance policies, you have to be able to document income to get mortgage insurance, to a level of specificity that discriminates against new Canadians, because they can’t do that,” Evan Siddall, the CEO of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., said in a wide-ranging interview with The Canadian Press.

“It discriminates against entrepreneurs, as well, because they can’t prove their income as well, so we’re looking at our own policies to try and make sure that there is more equity in our mortgage insurance programs,” he said.

Read the full article here.

Vancouver leads nation in low income families

We’re number one when it comes to inequality and percentage of low income families!

The study was released following recent discussion in the Lower Mainland about the under-reporting of income for tax avoidance. There are areas in north-west Richmond that are sharp anomalies, with very low-income levels despite high home values.

But, Yan emphasizes, the study also highlighting pockets of low-income populations throughout Metro Vancouver and, increasingly, the suburbs, where there are higher levels of poverty compared to the rest of Canada.

Others who have looked into the census data agree that both dynamics are at play.

Read the full article here.

Bank of Canada attacks housing market

The most recent interest rate hike from the Bank of Canada is seen as an attack on the Canadian housing market in this article. Provincial governments are trying to walk a fine line of supporting housing markets in their current state without prices shooting up or collapsing over the next year.

Given the enormous price gains in recent years, the market remains hyper-inflated, and the four-month downturn into a bear market hasn’t even brought prices back to the year-ago level, with the average price for all types of housing up 3%, and the condo price up 21.4% year-over-year.

To cool a similarly nutty housing bubble in Vancouver, the government of British Columbia had passed a year ago similar legislation with a 15% nonresident foreign speculator tax. But worried about an outright implosion of the bubble, it has since been subsidizing with taxpayer money down-payments aimed at first-time buyers and condos, which has inflated the condo bubble and condo speculation to new heights.

Politicians – they’re desperately dependent on extracting property taxes from homeowners – don’t want the world’s most majestic housing bubble to implode. They just want it to remain stable so that taxes can be extracted from willing homeowners that have gotten rich off years of house-price inflation. But for now, the Ontario government is letting the market ride.

Read the full article over at Business Insider.

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.