Friday Free-for-all! Spring Cleaning

It’s the end of another work week and you know what that means…

It’s time for some tidying up! Site looks a little different?

And of course it’s also Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

effects of the low dollar
good for boats
bulls right, bears wrong
legalize squatting
free markets

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

Let’s confuse the public.

Frances Bula has some comments about a recent proposal to tax vacant properties, pointing out the bizarre lack of logic in most arguments against:

… Real-estate marketer Bob Rennie said it would kill foreign investment in everything, since it would inevitably lead to a tax on foreign investment in manufacturing or other sectors. (Never heard of that in other jurisdictions with housing taxes.)

The mystery documents from the finance ministry surfaced again, claiming it would kill off $1 billion and 4,000 jobs related to construction. (Puzzling claim, since this surtax wouldn’t affect, say, foreign investors who are putting capital into major construction projects.)

And Premier Christy Clark claimed again that somehow this could end up targeting seniors who spend part of the year in the hospital or vacationers. Yet the proposal clearly stated that people who do or have contributed to the local economy (in other words, people collecting pensions) would be exempt.

Read the full comment here and Bulas’ article in the Globe and Mail here.

Who wants a 50 cent dollar?

With rumors of another rate cut, Rob Carrick points out 8 reasons he thinks that’s a bad idea. The very first reason? The Looney will fall even further against the US dollar.

For eight years, the Bank of Canada has been trying to encourage economic growth by lowering interest rates. It’s so not working.

In fact, lower rates are hurting a lot of people more than they’re helping. We have to at least acknowledge this as speculation of yet another rate cut grows. It could come as soon as Wednesday, which is the date of the next rate announcement from the Bank of Canada.

The central bank considers the entire economy when it sets rates. Now, let’s look at things from the point of view of everyday people. Here are eight reasons why the Bank of Canada shouldn’t cut rates any lower.

1. The dollar will fall even more: The most disruptive force in personal finance right now is the falling dollar. That’s because it’s hitting us all in a vulnerable spot – our grocery bill. Helpful for exporters, a weak loonie is a tax on families and snowbirds who must change Canadian dollars into U.S. currency. Last week, the dollar fell below 70 cents (U.S.) for the first time since 2003. A lower dollar adds downward momentum.

Read the full list over at the Globe and Mail, although a number of them are directly connected to a dropping looney.

The one group that a dropping looney should help are exporters as their products get cheaper for foreign buyers, but Jayson Myers, the head of the countries largest exporters association says don’t bother.

“Interest rates are low already. A little bit of dollar stability would be better.”

As an interesting aside, in 2002 when the CAD was hitting record lows Treasury Board President Scott Brison said it was

“a pay cut to every Canadian, a drop in our standard of living and a reflection of the fact that Canadians are getting poorer as Americans are getting richer under the watch of the government,”

Scott Brison is now a key cabinet minister and top economic aide to Trudeau.

 A hat-tip to southseacompany for the links.

Friday Free-for-all!

It’s that time of the week again, time for another Friday Free-for-all!

This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend, here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

Destroying Vancouver?
How to gloat gracefully
Define ‘bubble’
Zero down again please
CAD down the drain
Housing and oil, that enough?

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

Hating the mortgage-free

This is a weird story.

Guy buys a house in Toronto and pays off the mortgage in 3 years by working all of the time, living in his basement and spending little to no money.

And people are angry?

But after CBC News reported Cooper’s story late last year, reader comments flooded the internet, either praising or reviling the 30-year-old’s financial achievement.

“What is he going to do next, buy a car and sell one of his kidneys to pay for it?” snarled one reader.

An era of cheap interest rates has helped ignite an escalating and troubling household debt binge. The topic has become such a touchy one it can spark polarized opinions, finger pointing and even contempt.

Read the full article here.

Canadian Stocks and Oil Slides Further

On the plus side, gas prices are cheaper.

On the negative the side the Canadian economy is getting whacked by the slide in oil prices.

It’s been nine straight days of losses in the S&P/TSX, which is down 7.4% in that time.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley projected Brent oil may slump to as low as $20 a barrel on strength in the dollar. Brent dropped 6.7 percent to $31.32 a barrel in London. Bank of America Corp. cut its average 2016 Brent forecast to $46 a barrel from $50.

“Risk appetite will not return until we start to see crude carve out a bottom,” said David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff & Associates Inc., in a note to clients.

The S&P/TSX fell 1 percent to 12,319.25 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The gauge capped a 20 percent plunge from its September 2014 record on Jan. 7, hitting a magnitude in declines commonly defined as a bear market. Canada was the second Group of 7 country to see its benchmark enter a bear market, after Germany’s DAX Index did in August.

Are you selling, buying or staying put?

Read the full article here.

Friday Free-for-all! Lucky January 8th 2016

You’re about a week into a brand new year, how does it feel?

It feels pretty good.

It’s also the end of another work week and that means it’s time for another Friday Free-for-all! This is our regular end of the week news roundup and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.  Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

It’s that time of the year again
The ideal housing economy
China stocks down, prices up?
Taxes might limit house profits
Expect mortgage rate hikes
Lack of market regulation
Money flows like water
Benefits of a weak dollar

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

What would be the ideal housing economy?

What’s ‘fair’ when it comes to housing?

Should you be able to purchase a home in the town where you were born using only income from an average local job? Or would efforts to bring a level of equality to the buying side unfairly take gains from those wise or lucky enough to have bought at the right time in the right place?

A recent report from San Francisco says that the average millennial can only afford 135 square feet of housing, the lowest buying power in the country.

We’re assuming numbers for Vancouver wouldn’t be a whole lot more hopeful for millennials wanting to buy a home.

But these are numbers for San Francisco and Vancouver – there are a huge number of cities in the world that have better options for most any subjective criteria you could name: culture, food, climate, etc.

If you’re priced out, what’s so horrible about moving and exploring new options?

In the first world, we’ve had the right conditions for a rising housing market for more than a decade now – prices have gone up all over, in some place more than others.

Is this ‘fair’ to those left out, who didn’t have the ability at the right time to buy?

On the flip side is it fair to those who stretched and saved every dime to purchase a home to have people wishing for it’s value to drop?

If you were king of the universe and could control the market what would be the best case scenario not just for you, but for society and the economy as a whole?

 

Happy New Year! Friday Free-for-all 2016!

Huh, will you look at that… Looks like another year has come and gone.

Here in Vancouver we wrapped up the the year with super-low inventory of 6993 and likely some happy realtors. For comparison 2014 ended with a total inventory of 11,242.

For those of you looking for larger friendly family condos at affordable prices there’s some good news, this one starts at right around $1000 per square foot.

Prices like those might not be helping Canadians with their first priority, which is apparently paying down debt.

So who’s buying and who’s leaving?

One thing you can count on in the new year, Ted will never move. That guy loves this city.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Happy Boxing Week

It used to be there was a time when shops had sales on the day after Christmas to get people out shopping again and to get rid of their unsold Christmas sweaters.

In recognition of the fist fights that would break out over parking spaces this was called ‘boxing day’.

Then someone noticed that suckers would buy anything that had a big enough sale sign on it so they stretched it out for the full week.

It’s now that time of year, may all your shopping dreams come true, go fill those condos!

Bubble? What Bubble?