Category Archives: predictions

CMHC gets a bit weird

Here’s a couple of recent stories about Canada’s Housing Agency:  First off there’s the news that the government seems to be trying to figure out how to distance themselves from it, maybe by selling it off:

Anyone trying to understand the concern over a potential housing bubble in Canada need look no further than the debate among government officials over whether to exit the mortgage insurance business.

The board of Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. considered selling the home loan insurer last year, according to former Chairman Dino Chiesa, who’s term ended in March. CMHC, set up in 1946 to promote home ownership, also studied the sale of Australia’s government-owned insurer and presented the findings to the Bank of Canada, according to documents released to Bloomberg News under Canada’s Access to Information Act.

Here’s the full article.

But of course the CMHC is also saying they see ‘no sign of a market bubble’.

While the report did not make specific reference to the government’s changes in the oversight of CMHC, it did offer what could be characterized an strong validation of its role and operations.

“CMHC follows prudential regulations as set out by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, with CMHC maintaining more than twice the minimum capital required by OSFI,” it said. “As a result, CMHC is well positioned to weather possible severe economic scenarios.”

The report also highlighted the important role CMHC plays in the housing market, which it said accounted for 20%, or $346-billion, of Canada’s gross domestic product last year. It pointed out the agency “manages its mortgage loan insurance and securitization guarantee operations using sound business practices that ensure commercial viability without having to rely on the government of Canada for support.”

Here’s that article.

 

West side a fragmented market

I think this comment from zrh2yvr is worth highlighting, so I’m pasting it into the submission page!

OK – Some more interesting data – Again just the facts.

Van-West Detached, a market which seems to be suffering, can be described as three markets. One where there are over 350 units for sale in excess of 3.2 million with MOI of over 18 months, 185 units for sale at 1.9M or less with a MOI of 3.8 months and approx 340 units for sale between 1.9M and 3.2M with MOI at 6.7 months.

For units priced at under 1.9M, there is a severe lack of inventory which could be a reason for lower sales volumes. One has to wonder however, what will become of this high-end with properties for sale over $3.2 million? They are selling only at a slow pace but at 18 months, I would say many sellers would be happy to just wait for thay buyer.

Meanwhile, inventory is creeping up. Just like Richmond however, it is creeping up only in the low-mid range of the properties. The number of properties for sale with an age of up to 10 years has not changed since January (approx 230 units). However, in the range of 10-115 years old, overall, inventory is up by 80 units or 17%. In the tear-down category (those with age of 999), there are 9 more units or 11% so this could also be seen to have increased.

What is this saying? I would say that until the top starts to fall, there is not much down side in the Van-West market. Not much upside either as on the higher-prices, there are many many choices.

When looking at MOI, Given that sales of the higher-end properties have been picking up, we are seeing MOI for the new inventory decrease where now there is only 13 months for homes up to 5 years compared to approx 17 months in January. This is not a great level and is truly one to put downward pressure on prices. One has to wonder how many of these properties are held by speculators or builders who need to sell.

Finally, what areas are we seeing with deterioration in MOI?

Oak – Now at 10 compared to 5
Kerrisdale – Now at 10 compared to 7
South Granville – Now at 14 compared to 12
Cambie – Now at 9 compared to 6
McKenzie Heights – 8 compared to 6

Shaugnessy has highest MOI still but has improved to 16 from 18.

The most important ares with low inventory and tight MOI are:
Kits – 3.7 months now compared with 3.4 previous
Dunbar – 4.4 months now compared with 6.2 previous
Point Grey – 5 months of inventory same as previous


So overall, we are seeing the market change. The foreign buyer and the top-end buyer are not in the marketplace in sufficient numbers to acquire the high-priced inventory that is for sale. Limited numbers of units for sale under 1.9M are creating tight supply, but also low sales volume. However, ALL inventory increases have occurred in the lower priced ranges and are not evenly distributed throughout the entire market. It is not clear what we will see next. Perhaps it will be recent low-priced land plays coming back on the market as they realize there is too much competition on the new-build market. Perhaps we will see some high-end builders having to reduce to clear their inventory.

Either way – it is going to play out slowly until there is a change in the credit markets that changes the access to credit for all buyers.

The Flat Market Fantasy

It seems that everywhere around the world that house prices lept up quickly there was always someone predicting a ‘plateau’.  The idea that even if the market is overpriced the correction won’t come in the form of a crash, but instead property prices will stay flat and wait for income and rents to catch up.  This prediction is of course being applied to the Canadian real estate market as well:

Matthieu Arseneau, a senior economist with the National Bank, likes mortgage payments as the best yardstick. That’s because the evidence tells him that the rise of interest rates from today’s bargain-basement levels will be moderate. Based on this, he thinks it’s silly to foresee a housing crash, since monthly payments won’t get into distress territory even by the time rates peak in about three years.

That’s why Arseneau dismisses apocalyptic talk about a housing crash in Canada. As a cautious analyst, he doesn’t rule out any scenario absolutely, but Arseneau said Monday that this one is awfully unlikely: “I think there will be no collapse unless there’s a worldwide recession and credit crisis.”

Of course these comments regard the Canadian real estate market, not the Vancouver market specifically.  Can anyone name any real estate markets that have reached Vancouver levels and then gone flat?

Full article at the Ottawa Citizen.