Category Archives: predictions

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?

Another Realtor says “SELL NOW”

Should we have some sort of index tracking Realtors making public statements that it’s time to sell?

The market is sluggish, sales are low, inventory is growing.

..And the number of agents saying it’s time to SELL NOW is growing as well.

Agent Keith Roy was in the news recently with his blog post about the sale of his personal property and now Sam Wyatt is saying something similar:

Vancouver’s real estate market is getting and is going to get hit from both ends.  So, now that you are thoroughly depressed, here is the bright light:  IF YOU SELL NOW, YOU WILL STILL BE SELLING NEAR THE TOP OF THE MARKET.  If you plan to sell, you will need to price BELOW the most recent comparable sales prices.  If you don’t do this, your listing will stagnate.  I am pleased that this methodology has produced 4 sales in the last 30 days for my clients in a market were most homes are not selling.  In one case we had a multiple offer with a significant over asking result and in another we negotiated a full asking price sale.

I guess the important part is in all caps.

So can anyone find me a Realtor saying that now is a good time to buy in Vancouver?

 

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.

 

Condo holes across Vancouver

Much has been made about the huge number of condo towers under construction in Toronto, but here in much tinier Vancouver we’re not doing so bad.

There are currently 16 towers in progress and 67 more in the works.

With population growth and prices on the retreat will there be enough buyers for all these new units or are we over-saturating the condo market?

Cameron Muir says don’t worry:

“Prices have been pretty flat since 2009,” Muir said. “There’s ample supply in the market place, but we are seeing prices at a steady pace.”

The fact more condos than single-detached homes are being built in Greater Vancouver is nothing new, said Muir, as condo starts have consistently made up about 75 per cent of all housing starts in the last several years. “It’s a function of land supply.”

Consumer demand during the last several months is trending on a 10 to 15 year average, he added.
One indicator, says Muir, of the demand-and-supply balance in the marketplace is the sales-to-new-listings ratio.

In Vancouver last month, the ratio, at 15.3 per cent, inched closer to a buyer’s market – but sits within the balanced range of between 15 to 20 per cent.

There hasn’t been a sustained buyer’s market since the recession hit, between late 2008 to early 2009.

..And of course it’s starting to smell like 08/09 again with the Eurocrisis and global economic sluggishness, but is it different this time?

Here’s one thing that’s different: Out in Burnaby yet another condo presale had a lineup, but what a waste of time for the participants according to VMD:

re: polygon’s “MODA” presale in Burnaby that opened today, with some people camping since Monday…

sold today: 138
total units: 249
ratio: 55%

yawn.

Wow. Can you imagine waiting in line for a week for something that sells only 55% of inventory?

Fizzle.