Archive for the ‘prices’ Category

Mayor: city is at a ‘breaking point’

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

When it comes to housing affordability Mayor Robertson says that Vancouver is at a breaking point:

 “The conditions and the context keep getting tougher and tougher in Vancouver as the city gets more and more expensive and more desirable to people all over the world to invest in and move into. We’re basically at a breaking point where we need interventions in the market to ensure that people who live and work and grow up here in Vancouver have the opportunity to stay in the city and to keep being part of it and contributing.”

You may recall the Mayor wrote a letter to the BC Premier supporting the idea of speculation tax. The response from the Premier was based around the fact that such a tax would risk driving down house prices.

The Mayor responds to that idea in this interview at the Tyee:

“I think it’s completely wrong. It’s a totally different subject. What we’re talking about is taking some of the profit out of flipping and speculation, which doesn’t have to do necessarily with foreign ownership or homeownership or the value of homes. This is a business activity that’s taking place every day here in Vancouver where there’s a lot of profit, and it’s an option to transfer some of that profit so people can afford to live in the city. They went off on a completely different tangent in their response at the provincial level, and that’s unfortunate. The premier has said that affordable housing in Vancouver is a problem. Well, we need some action to deal with that.”

Protect the housing bubble!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

It seem natural that most readers of this site would appreciate an MLA standing up for more data on real estate transactions in BC.

It came after Weaver had introduced a private member’s bill to amend the Land Title Act. If it is approved by a majority of MLAs, it would enable the B.C. government to determine foreign-investment flows in the real-estate market, as well as the extent of corporate buying of property.

Unfortunately in a province where everything seems to revolve around real estate and sensitivities around that topic what you end up with is wishy-washy comments that are nonsensical.

Southseacompany points out that Green MLA Andrew Weaver has asked the finance minister what is being done to prevent a Vancouver housing bubble from bursting.  Unfortunately there appears to be some logical inconsistencies in the MLAs statements:

I especially can’t figure that first sentence on Weaver’s blog;

“Today in the legislature I rose to question the Minister of Finance as to what steps, if any, government is taking to ensure that Metro Vancouver’s potential housing bubble doesn’t burst and that housing remains affordable in the region.”

Remains affordable? And that if this bubble burst and prices fell, then… it won’t be affordable??

This man’s nonsense is a waste of time.

 

Food for Bulls

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

No matter how insane the Vancouver housing market gets, don’t take too much comfort in the fact that it can’t get crazier.  For all the logical arguments and reasoning, those who are negative on the price of Vancouver real estate have been more wrong than right for years.

Ulsterman points out one take on this situation:

I just renewed the rental on my $1.2m rental SFU for 2k/month. I great deal no doubt. But i’m dealing with a wife and three kids. My very patient wife would of course like to make changes and modify her nest. I mean, all her friends are doing it. I’m actually surprised I’ve managed to to suppress the mutiny thus far. Yes honey, just wait, the price correction is JUST around the corner. Every year we wait in nervous anticipation to know if we will be uprooting the family to search out another home.

If you have a family rental living is just a pain in the arse. Buying in 2005 or so and just getting the fuck on with your life would have been the best choice. And don’t think to yourself, “well duh, of course i’d have bought in 2005!” Back then, the people who read these blogs were the people who didn’t buy because they already thought there was a bubble. It’s really easy to look back now and say if only i’d had a downpayment back then i’d have bought. You probably wouldn’t have because you’d have been reading stuff like this and thinking a bubble was forming.

If you are a new bear out there, take no comfort reading these blogs. You could still be reading them 10 years from now. Seriously.

Read the rest of the comment here.

Sure, condos haven’t done so great in the last half decade, but detached homes keep going up and up.  At what point does this market affect your major life decisions? Do you capitulate and buy what you can, keep renting or are you considering a move away from the metro area?

Investigative Journalism is alive and well

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Channel 4 in London has done an experiment on estate agent reactions to potential buyers using obviously ill-gotten gains. The results were predictable:

In a documentary called From Russia With Cash, to be broadcast on Wednesday, two undercover reporters pose as an unscrupulous Russian government official called “Boris” and his mistress “Nastya” whom he wants to purchase an upmarket property in London for.

The couple – Russian anti-corruption campaigner Roman Borisovich and Ukrainian investigative reporter Natalia Sedletska – view five properties ranging in price from £3m to £15m, on the market with five different west London agents, in Kensington, Chelsea and Notting Hill.

Despite being made aware they are dealing with ill-gotten gains, the estate agents agree to continue with a potential purchase. In several instances the estate agents recommend law firms to help a buyer hide his identity.

One estate agent names a “very, very good lawyer … the last person I put them was another minister of a previous Soviet state” in a deal worth £10m.

The estate agents suggest that in the capital secretive purchases of multimillion pound houses are common. One claims that 80% or more of his transactions are with international, overseas-based buyers and “50 or 60%” of them are conducted in “various stages of anonymity … whether it be through a company or an offshore trust”.

Read the full article here.

Realtors hungry no more!

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Home buyers may be eating a lot of Kraft Dinner but Realtors are doing fine.  From RFM over at Vancouver Peak:

The VANCOUVER REALTOR HUNGER INDEX is the percent of realtors who earned no commission income for the stated month. For June 2015 the VRHI was 34%. How does this compare? The 18-year average for June is 39%. At 34%, the 2015 June VRHI was higher than 8 years and lower than 9 years since 1998.

The lowest June inventory in nine (9) years and strong demand forced already high prices higher, especially in single family homes, where the HPI reached a stratospheric $1,123,900. Fueled by continuing historically low interest rates, a flood of foreign investment money and panic buying by uninformed and delusional buyers, the June sales rate is extraordinary! And unsustainable. And prices are unsupportable. For a complete analysis of the market dynamics of this firestorm, consult the DSM-5! (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders.)

Details and comparison data for 18 years at: http://vancouverpeak.com/showthread.php?tid=64

Party like it’s 1981

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Remember the 80’s?

Big hair, jelly bracelets and 20% interest rates.

Homebuyers back then had a tough time, they had to save up for a big down payment and the cost of holding a mortgage was high.  All that hard work and sacrifice was well rewarded though as Rob Carrick points out in the Globe and Mail:

The high interest rates of the early 1980s must have felt unbearable for all Canadians buying homes and arranging mortgages (it was heaven for savers, but never mind). The reward for perseverance was a 30-year run in which resale house prices on a national basis surged by an average annual 5 per cent and were up in 28 of 34 years.

This rally was fed by falling interest rates. After the visit to high-rate hell in the early 1980s, home owners benefited from a long decline in rates that continued into 2015. House prices haven’t gone up because homes are a great investment, because of immigration, because of foreign money or because home ownership is awesome. It’s because we’ve had a 30-year sale on the cost of financing a home purchase, with ever-increasing deep discounts.

That sale may be ending. There’s a growing sense that the U.S. economy is on the upswing, and interest rates in the bond market have already started to creep higher. Mortgage rates take their cue from rates in the bond market, so we could see lenders increase fixed-rate mortgage costs at some point this year or next.

For the historical perspective read the full article here.

The thing that may surprise you is that despite a housing market that has provided magical returns for older buyers and cheaper and cheaper debt seniors are still going bankrupt in record numbers.

Locals only

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

A local developer has figured out a good way to get attention on an 18 million luxury penthouse that has remained unsold since 2012: say its for locals only.

Call it exclusionary, or tapping into the zeitgeist, or just a clever promotional scheme. Langereis says he wants a purchaser who will “commit” to this space and the city, and who will actually live here. If not year-round, then at least most of the time.

He wants to look up from street-level and see the lights on. “I want someone fun, someone who will connect with the rest of residents,” says Langereis. “Not someone who treats this place like some hidden chamber and then leaves.”

Read the full article here.

Flipping houses in Dunbar

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Many Franks pointed out this article over at BiV about house flipping in Dunbar. and points out how the math might not always be as appealing as it first sounds:

“A well-backed investor leveraging 20% down financing [around $400,000] would yield over 100% [on their cash investment],” said Derek Tinney, Landcor Data operations manager.Vancouver realtor Ken Leong, who admits to a brief – and heady – history of flipping condominiums for himself and clients, said it takes more nerve and cash to speculate on Vancouver’s detached-house market than during the exuberant days of condo flips a decade ago.

Leong said that if house price increases go soft – as in the current condo market – investors could find themselves financially under water fast.

Buried below the big numbers and cherry-picked examples are some important details:

[I]f an investor bought a house for $1 million and flipped it a few months later for $1.1 million, he or she would have to pay $18,000 in B.C.’s property purchase tax. Realtor commissions to sell the house would total around $33,500. The capital gains tax, likely at the highest tax bracket, would be roughly $30,000.“So now your $100,000 gain is down to less than $20,000, and you still have to add in the carrying costs of financing of around $4,000 per month while the house is for sale,” he said.

“It would be hard to make a big profit on such a flip,” Leong said. “Actually the government would make more than the investor.”

The last sentence is key.

Read the original article here.

What roll for developers in affordability debate?

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Often when it comes to real estate stories in the local media the people interviewed are developers, marketers or realtors. These are all professionals who deal with the market every day, so it makes sense for the media to seek their opinion on housing stories.

But should they be driving the ‘affordability’ debate?

Architect and professor Avi Friedman thinks not.

“Builders will not initiate innovative ideas because they are profit motivators, so the city needs to act as a catalyst,” he told CBC Radio One’s Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

Friedman also criticized the idea offered by many in the real estate industry, like marketer Bob Rennie, that Vancouver isn’t going to be affordable for everyone and that young people should consider moving to the suburbs.

“People who grew up and live in a city should be able to buy a home in their city. The fear is that, some of these young people may leave Vancouver,” Friedman said.

“Once you see the departure of young people from the city, they take along their potential … to start new businesses, to create a vibrancy that young people bring to a place.”

Friedman says it is incumbent upon the city and its leadership to foster and implement new ideas that will allow young people to stay and thrive in Vancouver.

Read the full article over at the CBC.

Majority of BC supports absentee homeowner tax

Monday, June 1st, 2015

A recent poll by Insights West says that 73% of people polled believe that levying a tax on those who buy homes in BC but don’t live in them is a ‘very good’ or ‘good’ idea.

It also suggests this sentiment is strongest among residents of Metro Vancouver (77 per cent), people aged 18 to 34 (76 per cent) and those in the highest annual household income bracket (76 per cent.)

Mario Canseco, vice-president of public affairs at Insights West, says it shows that even homeowners, who stand to make a lot of money on the resale of their home as foreign ownership drives up prices, are concerned about the negative effect on the community.

For instance, 86 per cent believe that absentee homeowners are speculators and not really part of the community, and that number jumps to 92 per cent for those with higher incomes.

That’s despite a high number of homeowners (76 per cent) saying they believe when foreigners buy homes the value of their properties go up.

“To have (developer) Bob Rennie tell you that a condo is the best thing to do is kind of like having the CEO of McDonalds tell you that their burgers are nutritious and they are the only thing you can afford,” Canseco said in an interview.

They also addressed the racism angle by breaking down responses by ethnicity and asking if they feel that the debate on foreign real estate ownership in BC is inherently racist.

They only divide ‘ethnicity’ into ‘white’, ‘east asian’ and ‘south asian’ because … ?

Read the full article over at the Vancouver Sun.

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