Category Archives: predictions

Canadian economy is doomed

Do low oil prices and a real estate bubble spell trouble for the future of the Canadian economy? Jared Dillian, former Lehman Brothers trader and financial writer is predicting a continuously dropping dollar with a long drawn out housing market crisis:

Unlike the US market, the mortgage market in Canada is not securitized. This means the housing crisis in Canada won’t be quick the way it was in the US (6/2007 to 3/2009).

Dillian says a long, drawn-out “death by a thousand cuts” scenario is in the cards for the Canadian housing market. And, this economic pain will probably last years.

He also notes that nearly all mortgages in Canada are “recourse mortgages” (except in Alberta). This means in-the-hole homeowners are not as likely to walk away as they were in the US housing crisis.

Is this the time that the wolf actually shows up, or just another failed prediction of doom? Read the full article and view the video interview over at Business Insider.

Vancouver Market Summary so far for August 2016

yvr2zrh wrote a good summary of what the market looks like currently, how media headlines can get it wrong and where we might go from here:

With about 9 market days remaining in the month, we can start to look forward to how the month will end up. During the past two weeks, we have seen so many numbers in the media which highlights not only is the market falling but also that the intricacies of the underlying data are not well-understood by so many people.

The message (although correct in that the market is bad) is so poorly explained and supported and thus the true state of the market is not clear to people. So – here is the summary of what is really happening.

1.) Sales volumes will be down around 25% for unit sales but 33% for dollar volume. My model predicts a 10% decrease in condo sales (which is not much).
2.) The decrease in average price across the entire market is driven primarily by mix at this stage. It is not known how much is driven by actual price movement. Likely little so far.
3. ) Detached home sales are down significantly. This is likely more than a 50% decrease from July volumes and could be more than 65% down from August 2015.
4.) It is not clear what the benchmark price will do but we would expect that the condo price is probably almost unchanged. This market is mainly suffering from supply issues which will take time to resolve. Detached benchmarks are likely to fall in the higher-priced markets. The reason is that there will be buyers but only low-ball buyers testing sellers.
5.) The stats will be partially supported by the month-end date cutoff issues at REBGV. They report sales based on the date they get paperwork. Many of the sales recorded to beat the tax will actually show as an August sale, while they are actually July sales. Since these are from a period with a “different regulatory and tax framework” they are not really comparable and should perhaps be shown separately for accuracy purposes.
6.) Inventory will be up a bit but we still have a supply shortage in condos. Detached house MOI will increase to 10 or more.

Ultimately, this tax is taking money out at the top. It will take a couple months to see how it all plays out but the top of the market will now need to rely on move-up buyers and bona fide immigrants who are permanent residents.

We can already see the headlines coming but some of the intricacies of the stats will not really be understood.

I also have some stories from the front lines which I will get more info on next month and then write a more detailed update.

And – let’s try to keep the discussion on topic as much as possible – we have started to waiver a bit in the past few weeks.

Posted by yvr2zrh on Friday August 19th 2016 in the comments section.

Foreign buyer tax hurts blue collar immigrants in the Fraser Valley?

Business in Vancouver has an article predicting that the BC Foreign buyer tax will hurt blue collar immigrant workers in the Fraser Valley, which is weird because we were under the impression that the tax was on the Metro Vancouver area and the valley was exempt:

Rob Philipp, chief executive officer for the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB), said that while the new tax is aimed at high-end buyers, it’s only going to hurt the working-class immigrants who are trying to move to the region. He called the Fraser Valley’s immigrant population “the engine that drives us.”

“The people who are buying on the west side of Vancouver, they don’t really care about an extra 15% tax. If you’re buying two-, three- or four-million-dollar homes, they want into the market regardless.”

Philipp said the new tax also dampens the incentive for skilled out-of-country workers to settle in the region.

“As a province we’re trying to recruit really specialized professionals – doctors, nurses, certain types of engineers,” he said. “And those are people who are spending $800,000 to buy a place out here and now they’re thinking, ‘Well, I have to spend another $120,000. I’m not going to do it.’”

The other odd thing is that if skilled out-of-country workers actually ‘settle in the region’ and file a Canadian tax return they are exempt from the foreign buyer tax, so we’re curious how it would dampen incentives to move here any more than paying $800k for a house out in the Valley would.

Read the full article here and please correct us if we are mistaken about how the foreign buyer tax actually works.

Realtors waiting to see impact of foreign buyer tax

There are more anecdotes of a market slowdown caused by the new foreign buyer tax in Vancouver.  This latest batch from the North Shore News:

Local real estate agents say they know of several multi-million-dollar real estate deals collapsing and predict the hot North Shore housing market will cool slightly in the wake of a new 15-per cent provincial tax on property purchased by foreign buyers.

“It’s one of the most shocking events that’s ever arrived in our industry,” said Brent Eilers, a longtime West Vancouver Realtor with Re/Max. “Nobody really knows how it will unfold.”

Eilers said the new foreign buyers’ tax is bound to have an impact, particularly in markets like West Vancouver and North Vancouver, which have been “incredibly dependent on offshore money or new money” that’s come from sales to foreign buyers in other areas of the Lower Mainland.

Read the full article here. So far it looks like sales are dropping and listings rising over the last few months. According to zolo, the average sales price in Vancouver has dropped by a few hundred thousand dollars since March.

Some thoughts on the Vancouver foreign buyer tax

Yesterdays surprise announcement of a 15% tax on purchase of real estate by foreign buyers has some people cheering, some jeering and some people scratching their heads. Here are a few thoughts pulled from yesterdays thread:

Franko sees it as a positive for affordability:

The province taxing foreign buyers.
The city taxing vacant properties.
The CRA going after tax evaders.
It all would have been unthinkable a year ago, but the biggest hit by far will come from China clamping down on money fleeing the country. HAM is soo over….and it will lead the stampede to the exit.

Patriotz is a little more sceptical:

Christy wants to eat her cake and have it too, i.e. be seen to be “doing something” in Vancouver while keeping the floodgates open and directing the money to Abbotsford and points east – which is where her greatest electoral support is. And get extra revenue from foreign buyers who just have to buy in the taxable area.

MarKoz points out the obvious:

Foreign speculators could avoid paying the tax by getting friends or family who are permanent residents to buy on their behalf. Or the tax may lead to inflated housing prices in cities such as Victoria, Kelowna or Toronto.

LS in Arbutus says maybe not so easy to avoid the tax:

I wanted to point out that there are anti-avoidance measures in the legislation. An Anti-Avoidance Rule is typically a statutory rule that empowers a revenue authority to deny taxpayers the benefit of an arrangement that they have entered into for an impermissible tax-related purpose. Soooo I guess you can still gift your wife/kids money to buy a house, but you generally much more shenanigans than that would be caught in this type of rule. They are very wide sweeping these rules.

bullwhip29 points out how lucky some politicians are that the tax only applies to one area:

as luck would have it, mike de jong has all his eggs located just outside of greater vancouver and wont be affected by any of this (or least not in a negative way)

No matter what your thoughts are on this issue you’ve got to agree it’s pretty much the big news story in the Vancouver real estate market lately and it’s likely going to take a while to see what sort of effect it has on the local and related markets.