It’s the beginning of a new year and the end of another week.

That means it’s 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:

-1988 flashback
-Chinese bottom fishers in Russia
-That’ll bump up the average
-Chinese buyers eye Seattle
-The pretending to pay buyers gambit

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

Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2014

As 2014 draws to a close and we move into 2015 here’s hoping your future is a bright one.

Some of you will buy property this year, some of you will sell, some will rent and others will move away.  Whatever 2015 holds for you it’s always good to keep some perspective.

Whether 2015 sees rising or dropping house prices in Vancouver we hope both sides of the debate will treat each other with a reasonable amount of respect – we’re all just trying to get by the best we can.

Happy New Year and here’s to an excellent 2015 for all of you!

High housing prices in Vancouver are driving away the key working demographic of 25-40 year olds – more are moving to other provinces than moving in from other provinces.

This article was pointed out by crikey.

Despite the challenges, numerous companies interviewed by Reuters said most of their staff are willing to make sacrifices — like long commutes or raising kids in shoebox condos — for the benefit of Vancouver’s mild climate and outdoor lifestyle.

But those same companies, such as Vancouver-based retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op, also had examples of key hires who ultimately turned down jobs because of the high home prices.

It’s an issue Craig Hemer, an executive recruiter with Boyden, has been grappling with for the better part of a decade.

Hemer has learned ways to soften the blow — selling older executives on the idea of downsizing to a luxurious downtown condo and convincing those with families that suburban life offers more amenities for kids.

And how do the companies react to this challenge?

Companies too are shifting their policies, with some offering car allowances and transit subsidies. Others are opening small suburban offices or allow staff to telecommute from home.

But that isn’t always enough, especially in Vancouver’s start-up scene. Executives say it is easy enough to hire junior staff, but a dearth of experienced engineers and technology workers makes it hard to grow past a certain point.

“There’s just not enough high calibre people here. They all leave when they realize they can make more money in other cities and live there for cheaper,” said Simeon Garratt, chief executive of Spark CRM, a property-focused tech start-up.

“We debate at least once a month whether we should just move to Toronto.”

Read the full article here.

It’s the weekend again, but not just any weekend, this is the relaxing weekend in the midst of holiday and vacation land.

But it is Friday, and that traditionally means it’s Friday Free-for-all time here at VCI.

This is our open topic discussion thread for the weekend, here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

-RBC: healthy 15% drop
-Soft landing is?
-Oil nosedives, what about stocks?
-Zinc, Wood, is all good
-An order of Canada for Carney
-Some debt numbers

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

Over at the Globe and Mail Rob Carrick points out that real estate is expensive in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver calling them ‘Desperation cities‘.

But let’s get real.  Not being able to afford a condo isn’t a ‘desperate’ circumstance.

Maybe it’s the fall out of overpaying he’s talking about though…

The theme in housing market forecasts for 2015 so far is steady pricing. Some markets will more or less be flat, while the Big Three markets could rise 3 to 4 per cent. What more could go wrong if you’re struggling to save enough money to buy a first home? Here’s something: You buy and then have to deal with a shock to the economy. Something like a plunge in oil prices that undermines growth and hurts the job market, for example.

In any case if you have shelter, enough food and the company of loved ones you’re pretty lucky on a global scale.  Maybe you’d be happier with granite countertops, but then again maybe you wouldn’t.

 

Friday Free-for-all!

December 19th, 2014

It’s that time of the week again…

Friday free-for-all time!

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:

-Sceptical of CMHC data?
-Langley Condos at 2006 prices
-Canadas random success story
-A bubble in renters?
-Market peak
-Oil prices on housing a ‘wild card’

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

As oil, so goes Real Estate?

December 17th, 2014

Over at the CBC Don Pittis notes that what goes up can also go down.

Specifically, he notes that in the oil market there were a number of ‘experts’ with access to detailed data and analysis, yet seemed to be as surprised as anyone at the drop in oil prices.

Canadas housing market is of course a completely different beast, and we don’t really lack for ‘experts’ noting that prices are a bit out of sync with reality.  When the Finance Minister speaks up and the Bank of Canada estimates that real estate is as much as 30% overpriced nationwide that’s not exactly ‘without warning’.

Pittis notes another key difference between oil and housing is of course the liquidity of the market:

This is one example of how housing is different from oil. While oil trades on big, well-informed central trading desks by large corporations, housing is a market made of individual, many of whom have only bought and sold a house once in their life.

Partly because of that, housing is an illiquid market. Unlike stocks or oil, you can’t just sell a house at today’s price and get out. You have to go through the long process of finding another individual who wants to buy your exact house at a price at which you are willing to sell.

In previous housing downturns that has meant a stock of overpriced houses builds up because buyers are unwilling to pay the price sellers expect.

At that point, prices in the market are set by people who have to sell immediately and will take the price offered. Sudden divorces. A new job across the country. A death in family. People who can’t afford to keep up their payments. Overpriced properties waiting for their price actually fall in value while the seller waits.

Read the full article here.

It’s a been a while since CMHC mortgage lending rules have been ramped back to more historical levels.

After dabbling in American style 40 year zero down mortgages we decided that might not be the best idea. Unfortunately we never did get the American style locked in interest rate for the full duration of the loan.

So now we’re back to 25 year terms and it’s more difficult to get a loan if you’re self employed.  A lot of loan applications that would have been approved a year or two ago are now being rejected.

So what affect has this had on the market so far?

Well apparently the sub-prime lending market in Canada has rocketed to a record level for one.

Capital Corp is a non-bank lender that has been operating since 1988. Their chief executive Eli Dadouch says there’s a lot of money out there for non-bank loans to higher risk borrowers.

He said there is no question it’s the top of the real estate cycle, so anybody lending out money has to be more careful today.

“People always want to deal with a bank, it’s the cheapest form of money,” he said. “When they come to us and people like us, it is because there is some type of story [behind why they can’t get credit]. It’s easy  to lend money, the talent in this business is getting it back.”

Read the full article in the Financial Post.

 

Joining in that venerable tradition of holiday season layoffs, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has announced that it is cutting 215 jobs which is close to 10% of it’s workforce.

But of course this is government, so they will also be adding jobs, resulting in only a small net loss of positions:

The federal agency said Friday the employees have been declared surplus and will see their jobs disappear at both CMHC’s head office in Ottawa and its regional operations.

However, CMHC says it is adding to its staff in risk management and information technology, so the organization will only see a “small net reduction” in its overall staffing levels.

Read the full article here.

FFFA!

December 12th, 2014

It’s that time of the week again…

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:

-Canadian debt at unsustainable level
-Realtors optimistic about 2015
-Overly fat debt loads
-Not expecting unexpected economic shocks
-Oil to affect Calgary prices
-Vancouver Island Stats

So what are you seeing out there?

Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

VCI Network

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