Archive for the ‘prices’ Category

Hot American Money?

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

If you’re looking for someone to blame for high house prices (anyone but locals!) you’ve got a new scapegoat: Americans.

The Province has an article saying the falling CAD means that US buyers are responsible for the biggest surge in the local market over the last year.

Asian buyers make up about 60 per cent of foreign buyers of Metro Vancouver real estate, according to a story published by the Financial Times on Good Friday.

But buyers from the U.S. accounted for the biggest surge in the Vancouver market in the past year, the story said.

The article also said the Vancouver market is unique because record prices seem to have little impact on buyers’ enthusiasm.

Read the full article here.

US claims stolen Chinese money washed in Van RE.

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Anyone who’s read this site for a while has probably noticed a couple of things:

1. A number of regular reader and commenters here blame wealthy Chinese ‘investor immigrants’ for the high cost of real estate in Vancouver.

2. The administration of this site disagrees and thinks that over-stretched house-horny locals and government insured lending on real estate are primarily to blame for high prices.

Yet we must admit this story has us thinking perhaps the truth is a blend of those two viewpoints:

U.S. alleges Metro Vancouver homes were part of scheme to launder money embezzled in China

Authorities allege that in the summer of 2011, shortly after they qualified for U.S. green cards, Qiao and Zhao began surreptitiously using accomplices to transfer millions of dollars into bank accounts in Wenzhou city, Hong Kong and Canada. At least two Canadian banks were used, HSBC Canada and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Zhao recently put the White Rock property up for sale for $689,000. Paulo Leung, a real estate agent with Regent Park Realty, said he had also sold the property to her in 2012 as an investment. He declined to say more. Both properties are being managed by Vancouver-based Chartell Properties. A receptionist there said they knew Zhao.

A search of property and title records conducted by The Vancouver Sun show that Zhao’s numbered company bought the properties outright. However, a few months later, it took out mortgages on both, totalling $1.1 million, that represented almost their entire market value. According to the U.S. indictment, a few weeks later Zhao and Qiao took money from their Canadian RBC account to pay for a Bellevue home.

Officials for the RCMP and Citizenship and Immigration Canada said they did not know if their departments assisted U.S. and Chinese investigators, and could not comment if they did.

Read the full article over in the Vancouver Sun.

IMF issues fresh warning on Canada housing market

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Apparently it’s not just the Bank of Canada that thinks Canadian RE buyers are suckers. The IMF is issuing yet another warning of potential problems in the Canadian Real Estate Market.

The International Monetary Fund is raising red flags about Canada’s housing market, warning that moves by Ottawa in recent years to tighten mortgage lending standards and boost oversight of the country’s financial system haven’t gone far enough.

Household debt levels remain well above those in other Western countries, the organization said in a commentary posted to its website Monday. Home prices have jumped 60 per cent in the past 15 years and remain overvalued from 7 per cent to 20 per cent, in line for a “soft landing” over the next few years, the IMF said.

At the same time, it reiterated its call for Canada to collect more data on its housing market and to centralize oversight of the financial sector. As it stands, regulation remains fractured among the Department of Finance, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and provincial governments all playing separate roles in regulating the housing the market.

Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.

What do these cities have in common?

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Take a look at this list:

Calgary
Winnipeg
Edmonton
Gatineau
Halifax
Hamilton
Oshawa
Montreal
London
Kitchener
Kingston
Ottawa
Quebec
Regina
Saguenay
Saint John
Sudbury
St.John’s
St. Catharines
Sherbrooke
Saskatoon
Thunder Bay
Toronto
Trois Rivieres
Vancouver
Victoria

Know what those 26 cities have in common?

They’re all Canadian for one, but they are also places where house prices have doubled or tripled over the last 15 years.

As special as Vancouver is, it’s apparently not unique when it comes to rising prices.

Thanks to Joe Mainlander for pointing this out, original data source is Toronto Condo Bubble.

West Van debates pros and cons of Monster Homes

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

West Vancouver is considering limiting the size of ‘Monster Homes‘ and that’s got both sides of the issue up in arms. The primary concern from some residents is that a proposed size limit would bring down property values:

“At first glance, this is flawed, to say the least,” said Russell Lane, who said he and his wife were “one of the owners of one of the larger properties and our house is on it. It’s not a ‘monster property,’ or whatever the description is, but a house that was built appropriate to current regulations.”

He said it would be unfortunate if the municipal government created, in effect, two classes of properties, where older houses that were built to code would be more attractive to buyers than homes built after a policy change.

Meanwhile North Delta brought in similar limits several years ago:

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said her community limited the size of new North Delta homes to 3,552 square feet several years ago and feels the policy has worked well, with few complaints from builders or owners of would-be monster homes.

“We were having problems with some very large homes being built, some as large as 9,000 square feet or bigger,” she said. “Allowing an unlimited amount of square feet in new homes was not taking the community in the direction it wanted to go.”

Read the full article in the Vancouver Sun.

Where Canadian house prices are up or down

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

The latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association is now showing about half of the countries markets with rising and half with dropping prices.

Toronto and Vancouver are doing well so far with a year over year increase of 4.9% and 1.8% .

The big winner? That would be St. Catharines with a YOY increase of 16.1%.

The overall average house price grew 3.1 per cent in the year to January, to $401,143. That’s the smallest increase since April, 2013, but it’s largely a story of two still-hot housing markets: Toronto and Vancouver. Strip out those two cities and average house prices are down 0.3 per cent over the past year.

Home sales, meanwhile, are 2 per cent lower than they were a year ago, CREA numbers showed.

Major energy industry centres like Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina saw some of the sharpest declines in housing demand, TD economist Diana Petramala noted.

There is “a widening regional wedge” in Canada’s housing markets, Petramala wrote in a client note, as oil-importing cities’ housing markets benefit from lower oil prices while producer cities struggle.

Read the full article here.

OV condo unit sale gets big price drop

Monday, February 16th, 2015

“If they got in early, they got burnt” says the selling agent about the Olympic Village condo development.

The Globe and Mail features this deal where a unit was purchased new for $1,565-million + HST in 2010 and recently sold for somewhat less.

He says prices dropped in 2013, when the city took over sales. At that time, he sold a 1,200-square-foot unit, with a water view, in the same building for $860,000. “That’s more like a Burnaby price,” Mr. Yan says.

Last December, he advised a client to purchase this unit, and she jumped on it. She’d been looking for three months in Richmond and Yaletown as well.

“I said to her, ‘If you had talked to me a year earlier, I would have got you an even better deal [in the building],’” Mr. Yan says.

Read the full article here.

Local buyers drive up prices on east side

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

So the Canadian dollar is in the toilet now which means buying stuff here in some other currencies gets you a nice 25% discount compared to a year ago.

And yet who’s driving up prices on the east side of Vancouver? Local buyers according to some realtors.

“We had 20 people in the city who would have paid asking price and 10 who wrote offers and were willing to pay more,” said Rockel of Macdonald Realty Ltd.

She said no overseas buyers were involved in the final offers.

The big news was the property that got 31 offers:

Meanwhile, Vancouver realtors are still agog over the 31 offers that were received for a home at 3 East 60th Ave. in South Vancouver which was listed at $899,000 and went on sale 10 days ago.

“It was for sale on the Tuesday and by the Friday we took offers,” said Sebastien Albrecht, a realtor with Royal Lepage.

“I’ve seen multiple offers on properties — the most being 10 or 12 — I don’t think any of us have seen 31 before. It’s the talk of the town among realtors,” said Albrecht.

He said he couldn’t disclose the selling price because the property was in probate, which would have to be cleared before the sale could be finalized.

Not mentioned in that article is the fact that the asking price on that property was $30,000 under assessed, but still that’s a lot of bids.

Are you ready for higher interest rates?

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

That seems like a really weird question as rates continue to drop.

But over at the Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe says ‘Prepare now for interest rate shock‘.

On top of the Bank of Canada recent surprise .25% rate cut there are a number of people predicting another cut coming this year, so why worry about interest rates at all?

The size of the average mortgage on a dwelling in Greater Vancouver is $400,000, reports Jeff Johnson, mortgage broker at Cloverdale-based Dominion Lending Centres Canadian Mortgage Experts, with offices in B.C. and Alberta.

That jumbo figure is based on the average 2014 value of a Vancouver property, $801,000, and a Canadian Association of Mortgage Professionals survey last year showing the average equity position assumed by borrowers is 50 per cent.

Johnson notes that if interest rates rise in 2015 by even just half a percentage point, monthly payments on a typical variable rate $400,000 mortgage could increase by $100 to $1,872.

“And this is the best case scenario, as rates could continue to slowly increase (thereafter).”

Elyea points out such increases would be coming on top of 2015 hikes imposed on B.C. residents for MSP premiums, car insurance and BC Hydro.

And it is worth remembering British Columbians have more modest employment earnings than elsewhere in Canada. The B.C. average weekly wage last year was about $890, compared to $940 across Canada.

Ok, sure. But we know all that already. How long have we been hearing the warnings about ‘being ready’ for rate increases while they just stay down at record lows or continue to drop?

It’s like that old story ‘The Boy who cried Wolf’.  Eventually the villagers get sick of hearing all the false warnings, learn to ignore them and live happily ever after.

RBC first to cut mortgage rate

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Last week when the Bank of Canada announced their surprise rate cut none of the big banks seemed to be in a rush to announce lower lending rates on mortgages.

We asked which will be the first lender to lower mortgage rates and now we have the answer:

RBC is the first to cut mortgage rates as bond yields plunge.

Royal Bank, the country’s second-biggest lender by assets, offered a five-year fixed rate of 2.84 per cent on Jan. 24, down from 2.94 per cent last week, according to rate-tracking website Ratespy.com. That’s below RBC’s posted rate of 4.84 per cent. The bank also trimmed its three-, seven-, and 10-year rates, according to CanadianMortgageTrends.com, an industry news website.

Race to the bottom or just a good time to renew?

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