Category Archives: prices

How sharp a correction?

Most economist are predicting a slower housing market in Canada, but how slow is too slow?

Southseacompany points to this article wondering how ‘sharp’ any correction would be:

Last week, the Bank of Canada hiked the overnight rate to 1.25 per cent, causing the credit union to note that Canadians have some of the highest levels of household debt in the world.

The interest rate hike — when combined with a new mortgage stress test for uninsured borrowers that came into effect on January 1 — could severely limit the purchasing power of many would-be home buyers, cooling the market dramatically.

But while most economists agree that these factors will dampen the market in the first few months of 2018, many believe it will eventually adjust to the changes. What’s more, some argue that Canadians debt levels aren’t as worrying as they might first appear.

“Household debt in Canada is seen by some as unsustainably high and a source of vulnerability for the financial system,” write National Bank chief economist Stéfane Marion and senior economist Matthieu Arseneau in a recent report. “But the international evidence suggests that Canadian household leverage and home prices are not abnormal.”

Read the full article here.

The architect and the economics professor

Bear Vancouverite pointed out this debate on CKNW:

I wanted to share this with you guys: a debate between Tom Davidoff and architect Michael Geller. Davidoff is a UBC economics professor in the Sauder School of Business which some here have (wrongly) accused of being in the RE Industry’s pocket. In this debate Davidoff’s position is that:

1) The rich who own huge homes are being subsidized by the rest of us
2) We should get rid of the Home Owner’s Grant (Michael Geller brings this up too)
3) We should encourage more density in super low density areas like Point Grey
4) We should not gentrify low income areas to increase density if we can increase density in wealthy areas
5) We need to curb demand using tax policy ( Speculator’s Tax)
6) Housing needs to be in line with local incomes

I’ve seen other interviews with Davidoff in the past and I believe he considers our housing overpriced, manipulated by wealth and speculation, and would like to see prices more in line with local incomes.

The one aspect that he believes that I think have offended some people here is he believes “everyone wants to live here”.

How do you talk about foreign buyers without being racist?

A growing issue in Vancouver real estate is that of foreign buyers. Statistics Canada claims that non-resident foreigners own 7.6% of the value of homes within the city of Vancouver.

Now clearly it is possible to talk about this issue without devolving into racist generalizations and hate, but some commenters on this site have a very difficult time doing so.

There are a number of parties that have no interest in changes to the current market and these parties are served best by angry racist rantings.  What better way to distract from the issue at hand and paint any discussion of foreign buyers as racist?

So good job you knuckle-heads, those that profit in a run-away housing bubble thank you!


Mostly wrong for more than a decade.

A comment from Ulsterman to kick off the new year:

Well, it’s been almost 15 years of being wrong about this market. Yup, believe it or not back in 2003 people thought prices were too high. Yes, it’s comical now, but at the time when you watched a Commercial Drive condo go from 80k to 115k within a year, people were worried about buying at a peak….

Anyhow, 2018 certainly looks like there are many factors aligned against rising prices:

1) SFH prices have already been falling
2) rates are rising
3) more restrictive lending
4) a kinda/sorta foreign buyers’ tax
5) the upcoming stress test
6) insane debt levels

What i have learned through bitter experience is that the LM market can be incredible resilient, so i won’t get my hopes up for a really significant drop in prices, but i genuinely do think SFH’s will be cheaper a year from now. Will it make a difference to me? Unlikely.

Good luck to all of you in 2018!

Tougher to get a mortgage in 2018

In the new year we’ll see a ‘stress test‘ added to all new uninsured mortgages, are you ready for that?

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Canada’s banking regulator, confirmed earlier today that there will now be a qualifying “stress test” for all uninsured mortgages, affecting consumers with downpayments of 20 percent or more.

Under current housing rules, only borrowers with a downpayment of less than 20 percent require mortgage insurance. This category of borrowers are already subject to a mortgage “stress test” that was introduced back in July 2016, amidst concerns about rising household indebtedness.

Right now, if you’re applying for a mortgage with a downpayment of 20 percent or more, the lender will assess if your financial situation is robust enough to afford a five-year mortgage qualifying rate, which currently sits in the range of 4.64 to 4.89 percent.

Under the new rules, OSFI will require that lenders use that same five-year mortgage rate plus two percent — essentially you’ll need to have income that qualifies you to afford an interest rate on a home loan of roughly seven percent.

Dave Madani says this is equivalent to a 17% reduction in the maximum mortgage people will be able to qualify for. Read the full article over at Vice.