Category Archives: opinion

RBC: No Toronto Condo Bubble

Royal Bank says everyone should stop worrying about the condo bubble in Toronto.

Policy makers in Ottawa and various economists just need to chill.

There is no Condo Bubble in Toronto.

Can someone ask them about Vancouver?

There are more condos under construction in Toronto than any other city in North America, and more residential building is taking place in the Greater Toronto Area than ever before.

Mr. Flaherty’s fears about overpriced real estate, and condo markets in particular, prompted him to surprise the market last month with new mortgage insurance rules that aim to take some of the wind out of the market’s sails. He’s trying to engineer a gradual slowdown of the market, fearing that otherwise it could crash at some point.

Mr. Hogue’s lack of concern about a bubble does not mean he thinks the market will boom, however. He expects condo prices to fall by perhaps 2 per cent to 7 per cent from their peak. He predicts that a two-tiered market could emerge, with condo prices softening while the market for single-family homes is resilient.

Full article in the Globe and Mail.

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.

Vancouver ain’t what it used to was going to be

Two former city planners who were fired by councils over differences of opinion are in the Vancouver Sun complaining about a lack of planning.

That would be a lack of planning for future city growth.

They are joined in their concern by a third former city planner who retired in 2006.

“I come back to Vancouver and more and more I worry that here we have become incredibly complacent about the future we are going to face,” said Beasley. “To me there is no question. I don’t feel vague about it, I don’t think it is unknowable, we are going to have a big affordability problem in this city. That affordability could in fact be the defining reality and image in this city by 2050. It is already becoming the alternate image of this city that goes along with the beauty and all that.”

He said the region needs a “brand new” metropolitan plan, “a plan that thinks about the issues of the future, a plan that is not shy, a plan that does not have parameters and you can’t talk about this and you can’t talk about that. And until we get that plan, we are not going to solve the problems of the inner city, the affordability, our heritage program, our culture, whether we have enough office space. We just are not going to solve it unless we get a much broader concept of our metropolitan core and we get a plan for it.”

Toderian said in his term as planning director he tried to start a new citywide plan but could not get past “obsolete” local neighbourhood plans that have only made the problem worse.

Can you plan a great city, or can a great city just happen in a pretty place?

Canada house price crash a certainty

Happy day after the new mortgage rules come into effect!

Even before these rules were announced we saw a ‘softening’ in the Vancouver real estate market.

Prices have drifted down as of late and sales are at an all-time-low and inventory keeps growing.

..Yet there are still those that believe ‘it’s different here’.

We saw housing bubbles grow all around the world and pop one by one, but we went through the same steps of pumping up cheap credit to build the house of cards higher.

Check out this post on Alphahunt about Why a Crash in Canadian House Prices is Certain.

What’s amplified our current RE cycle is that credit was steadily made cheaper & easier throughout the boom period – and especially when the RE market suffered in 2008. After finally waking up and seeing the monster they helped create, the Gov’t is making lending rules stricter. Lending practices should not have been made so loose to begin with. And their meddling in 2008 only delayed the inevitable bust.

Today, we’re still at extreme unaffordability and there is no such thing as a ‘soft landing’ or ‘small correction’ for Vancouver RE. Any asset that has seen a price rise of at least two standard deviations above long-term valuation ratios has always mean reverted. If the Vancouver RE market did not return to the normal multiple of income and rent, it will be the first time in history. You can’t binge drink and avoid the hangover. Timing the start of the hangover is always challenging, but what we know with high probability is that there will be a hangover.

 

Thanks for the housing market data!

Hey all, This is my first submission, mostly I lurk in the forum but read this site daily.

I just want to send out a big thank you to everyone who shares otherwise unavailable Vancouver housing market data here.

Watching the stats roll in day after day has been fascinating.

It’s amazing to watch the market change day by day, and the aggregate data provides an even clearer picture.

First of all of course there’s Paulb who’s been providing daily numbers for a long while.  It’s thanks to Paul that we see the daily number of new listings, sold properties and have a total inventory count.  Pauls website is here.

Then there’s VHB, who consistently posts analysis tracking the numbers through the month.  Here’s his most recent post.

We have a new commenter going by the name of HFHC who has been providing other great stats including listing data for the entire lower mainland and a break down of sales by category.

Then there’s Inventory, who’s provided excellent number breakdowns for specific markets as seen in yesterdays post about the low June sales numbers.

And of course everyone else who provides such amazing data, analysis and comments.  I started listing your handles, but the list went on and on and I knew I’d leave out some the best so I’m opting to just send out a big general thanks to ALL of you, you’re amazing.

Keep posting!

-kray