Archive for the ‘predictions’ Category

REDMA changes, is this a big deal?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Ex-kitsie pointed out this story:

Justice Minister Susan Anton has introduced Bill 17 (Miscellaneous Amendment Act, 2014) which includes a proposed amendment to Section 23 of the Real Estate Development Marketing Act (REDMA).

Ex-kitsie explains:

This is the legislation that governs the marketing of real estate by developers to consumers. The amendment would make a purchase agreement enforceable against a purchaser where the developer’s disclosure agreement included misrepresentation of a material fact and the developer was not aware of the misrepresentation at the time the agreement was entered into. This amendment would remove the ability of the purchaser to terminate or renegotiate the agreement upon discovery of the misrepresentation. So… the developer can include unsubstantiated inaccuracies while still enforcing the purchase agreement against the purchaser who relied upon the misrepresentation. Of course, we all know developers would never lie.

We’re not sure if this is a big deal or not, here’s a link to the amendment, you’ll have to scroll down about half way to find the relevant section.  Any comments on whether this is a dramatic change to the Real Estate Development Marketing Act or just a minor adjustment?

 

Pimco talking down Canada again

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

The worlds biggest bond fund seems to think there’s some sort of an issue with the Canadian real estate market.

Ed Devlin sees a decline somewhere in the range of 10-20 percent for home prices across the nation.

“And if you get that kind of 10-, 20-per-cent real correction, that should alleviate some of the stresses,” he added in an interview with our real estate reporter.

“And so that’s kind of what what we’re seeing. It will start this year, it could be bumpy along the way.”

To be clear, Mr. Devlin is not forecasting a sudden crash, but he joins a chorus of voices, from Deutsche Bank to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in raising red flags.

Deutsche Bank, for example, believes the Canadian housing market is the most overvalued in the world.

Read the full article here.

What will the CMHC announce?

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Who wants to play ‘guess the future’?

Apparently the CMHC is holding a conference call at 10 am EST on Feb 27th.

Some rumours are saying privatization, though it looks like most everyone agrees that would extreeeeemely unlikely at this point for a few reasons:

-Privatization would require the finance department
-No one in their right mind would take on the debt

But that doesn’t mean you can’t guess at what is going to be revealed tomorrow!

So what do you think the CMHC will announce? Privatization? Tougher underwriting standards? Branching out into commemorative figurines? A new special expert task force comprised of Brad Lamb, Bob Rennie and Angelo Mozilo?

What’s your best guess at what the CMHC will announce tomorrow?

RBC warns of mortgage rate increases

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

RBC sees mortgage rates going up instead of flat or down.

Their forecast is for housing to get less affordable due to rate increases.

The Royal Bank of Canada says the ability of Canadians to keep up with housing costs has been improving of late, but warns that’s about to change.

RBC’s latest housing affordability measure shows home servicing costs relative to incomes dipped slightly in the last three months of 2013 after having risen the previous two quarters.

But the relief will be temporary, the bank says in a new report, because mortgage rates are due to start rising this year.

“RBC anticipates that as longer-term interest rates begin to moderately rise, the costs of owning a home at market value will gradually outpace (growth) household incomes by late-2014, leading to strained affordability in several markets across Canada, much like the trend in Toronto,” RBC chief economist Craig Wright said in the report.

The finding bucks the recent trend, which has seen mortgage rates remain stable or even moving lower, with some brokers offering five-year fixed rates below three per cent.

Read the full article here.

Gen Y not buying a lot of Vancouver houses

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

From the obvious files: expensive homes are expensive.

The Globe and Mail has an article about changing attitudes towards real estate by Generation Y in Vancouver.

Essentially: they are more inclined to live urban and remain mobile.

They also say that Boomers are downsizing into condos.

Ben Smith, VP of sales and marketing at Rennie & Associates, says he’s already seen a major shift in the last six months. This year he’s seen a sudden surge in demand for three-bedroom condos, purchased by downsizing boomers. Those boomers are trading their homes for spacious condos. Those same boomers are helping their kids with a down payment on their own condo, which is the only way a lot of Millennials will ever afford to live in Vancouver.

“It’s exciting, because for years we’ve been talking about this, and we’re finally seeing it happen,” he says. “There is $88-billion worth of clear-title real estate tied up with boomers. In B.C. and Vancouver especially, we are all equity and no income. If you don’t have that down payment, you don’t have a home.”

Read the full article here.

Excess of rental units in Toronto and Vancouver?

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

A new report from CIBC is warning of an excess of rental units in Toronto and Vancouver.

They are basing this outlook on the large number of condos being built in both cities and predict a less than half point rise in vacancy rates, so ‘warning’ sounds a bit strong.

The concern is that increased competition for good renters could drive owners to sell their condos, leading to a further downturn in the condo resales market.

Economists and policy makers have worried that an “increased supply of rental units will flood the market and will lead to a wave of sales by disappointed investors with no bargaining power,” Mr. Tal writes in the report. The Bank of Canada highlighted concerns about the condo market in December when it outlined the key risks to the economy.

“A sharp correction in the condominium market could spread to other segments of the housing market with stretched valuations, as buyers and sellers adjust their expectations of the future path of house prices,” the central bank warned. “Such a correction could also have significant repercussions on the real economy, since the construction sector is an important component of economic activity.”

Read the full article here.

TD: Houses 10% overpriced nationally

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Somebody over at TD bank looked in their crystal ball and saw interest rates rising.

They say that a combination of factors including increasing supply, softening demand and the expectation of rising interest rates mean that home price across the nation are overvalued by about 10%.

It says markets such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa are likely more overvalued than markets in the Prairie and Atlantic regions, and will likely see more of an impact.

The national housing market and worries about a real estate bubble have been key concerns for policy-makers for several years.

Recent indicators have suggested the market may be headed for a soft landing instead of a bubble bursting, but concerns have persisted.

Full article here.

Cult of ownership in trouble?

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The Globe and Mail has an article about shifting perceptions on home ownership in Canada.

Based on a very small sample size, they are predicting that young people in Canada are becoming less willing and able to buy property.

“Last year, in a class of 29 students, a clear majority said they would buy,” Prof. Harris wrote me in an e-mail. “I was surprised because I had spent a lot of time speaking about the dangers of price bubbles, and about the opinion of most experts that the markets in many Canadian cities had moved, or were moving, into bubble territory.”

This year, only five of 23 said they’d buy and 18 chose to rent. “Although the assignment was the same and the content of my lectures pretty much the same, the pattern of response was very different,” Prof. Harris wrote.

Its certainly not what you’d call a wide ranging survey, so what do you think?  Are attitudes towards home ownership changing in Canada or do all the kids still want real estate?

What’s holding back the BC economy?

Monday, January 20th, 2014

BC’s economy is tepid, with some pessimistic outlooks from business leaders.

So what’s holding us back? Why don’t we have a higher rate of innovation and a broader growth economy?

That’s the question asked by this BC Business article:

Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, said complacency about the allure of B.C.’s climate, geography, and lifestyle may be one of the greatest risks. “Snow and mountains do not a business strategy make,” she warned. “I see for the first time in a decade, young people between 25 and 34 moving en masse to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, because that’s where the jobs are,”  Vrooman said. “I’m quite concerned about our ability to grow our economy for the next generation if they can’t find gainful employment here.”

The numbers back her up. Statistics Canada figures show B.C. lost 18,900 full-time jobs in 2013. Yet even with fewer spots to fill, companies are finding themselves unable to find workers with the skills needed to grow their businesses. There aren’t enough graduates in high-demand fields, and B.C. wages for even those workers are often insufficient to offset the high cost of living.

Is this a chicken and the egg problem?  Businesses can’t afford to pay enough to bring in the talent that would grow business?  Or is there a complacency problem here, where the environment was always supposed to be enough to draw people in and they’d take a paycut to live here?

Down is the new flat in Vancouver and Victoria

Monday, January 6th, 2014

A ‘flat’ market sounds good right?

Not too up, not too down, but just right.

It means if you buy a condo now you won’t have to suffer the indignity of someone buying the unit upstairs from you for $100k less in the future.

So flat is comfortable and we’re starting to see that word a lot more these days.  This article uses it in the headline: Vancouver condo market stays flat.

So you might be surprised to read the following directly under that headline:

Although Vancouver has a reputation as one of the most expensive cities in North America for housing, condo prices stayed flat or even dropped last year, according to recently released assessment numbers.

That follows several years of the same pattern, which means overall condo prices are now seven to eight per cent lower in inflation-adjusted dollars than they were at the recent peak of the condo market in 2009, says one analyst.

Meanwhile in the capital city they’re using the same word: Flat forecast for Greater Victoria home prices.

And here’s what they say:

Although the number of homes sold for the past year rose by four per cent to 5,998 from 5,747 in 2012, the benchmark price for a single-family house slid by 3.2 per cent. That benchmark, representing a typical house, was $479,599 in December, down from $495,400 during the same month in 2012, the board said Thursday.

The benchmark price has dropped from three years ago when it was $515,500, the board said. And it’s lower than the $483,400 price recorded five years ago.

So here’s the cheat sheet:

Vancouver ‘flat’ = 7-8% drop over four years.

Victoria ‘flat’ = $35,901 drop over three years.

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