Category Archives: prices

Free money popular with first time buyers

The new BC first time buyer program is proving to be popular with over 1000 applicants who will hopefully vote for the current government in the next election.

“The B.C. Liberal government has received more than 1,000 applications from first-time home buyers who have been lured by new incentives under a program designed to improve housing affordability.”

“Critics, however, say the program is adding fuel to an already heated market for condos, notably in the Vancouver region.”

““Ottawa has been saying let’s have fewer highly leveraged buyers, but the province is saying we have to help the risky, leveraged first-time buyers get into the market,” Prof. Davidoff said in an interview Sunday. “The province has sweetened the pot.””

Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.

Debt addicts face painful withdrawal

Canadians love debt that gets sunk into ever rising property prices and banks and other lenders have been happy to provide.  As long as rates only go down this is a pretty good situation, but what if rates were to go the other way one day?

Financial companies have been more-than-willing lenders. But there are several reasons why Canadians have been such enthusiastic borrowers.

Last week, new figures showed that consumer lending now totals more than $2 trillion, a new record. As we reported last week, for every dollar of Canadians’ disposable income, they owe almost $1.67.

From the point of view of Canadians, money has never been so cheap. But the rising cost of housing, especially in the country’s biggest cities, has also drawn people into taking on more debt.

Continue reading Debt addicts face painful withdrawal

Blame the banks

Southseacompany pointed out this article in Canadian Business about how the banks have become complicit in the housing bubble, which strikes us as a bit unfair since any bank would be foolish to not take part in the low risk high profit business of mortgages.

As long as government is willing to take on the majority of risk and encourage high debt loads, why should a single bank step back from that money?

In a rational world, the banks could be counted on to help contain the housing mania that has put Canada in this perilous situation. Before the early 1950s, Canada’s biggest lenders had little interest in real estate, according to Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber, the authors of Fragile by Design, a highly praised international history of the interplay between politics and banking.

That changed after William Lyon Mackenzie King created the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. at the end of the Second World War to backstop the construction of new homes for returning soldiers. Nothing stirs a banker like risk-free lending. By 1954, the banks had convinced the government to change their charters so they could join the post-War building boom. In 1992, they were cleared to buy the trusts that were the initial beneficiaries of CMHC’s backstop, triggering the consolidation that cemented today’s oligopoly.

In November 2015, the average monthly holdings of mortgages at Canada’s chartered banks exceeded $1 trillion for the first time. The figure continues to climb, reaching $1.07 trillion in December, according to the Bank of Canada’s most recent statistics. That’s more than double what the chartered banks commit to business lending.

Read the full article here.

Eliminate character to avoid affordability 

There are some old homes on Vancouver and some people think we shouldn’t be tearing down 1000 of them each year.  The city has some heritage and ‘character’ protections in place, but these have the unfortunate side effects of slowing the relentless rising of house prices:

“The real data on the house next door is that it reduced the value by 15 per cent,” said Jackson, whose neighbour’s house was re-listed and sold for less money after the city determined it has “character features” on the exterior. 

Read the full article here

West Van population slip sliding away.

According to BC Statistics the community of West Van is seeing a steady population decline.

According to a B.C. Statistics report, the population in West Vancouver dropped by 2.1 per cent between 2015 and 2016 with just under 41,000 people now calling that community home.

The downturn in West Vancouver is the largest year-over-year decline of any B.C. municipality with at least 15,000 residents. West Vancouver has been in a slow and steady decline since 2011, which doesn’t follow the current trend of most municipalities across the province that have seen a steady increase in their populations.

So whats driving the decline? Housing prices? Aging Population? Lack of Bars and Restaurants? Lack of rentals? The mayor is concerned about all those factors.

“So we need more rental accommodation so when our young people are graduating and want to stay in West Van, have a place to rent.”

The business community, Smith says, is also suffering from the lack of vibrancy.

“We don’t have the bars and restaurants to create any vibrancy in the community. It’s a very serious situation,” Smith explained.

Read the full article at Globalnews.