An article over at the Financial Post by Garry Marr asks if recent hikes in mortgage insurance fees are targeting first time buyers.

The move by Genworth Canada, which matches an increase announced Thursday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. will raise insurance costs by 15% for those Canadians with the highest debt-value mortgages allowed by Ottawa.

Of course lets keep things in perspective here – that 15% increase may result in an extra cost of about $5 dollars a month.

You’d have to be really stretched for that to be an issue.

Rob McLister, founder of ratespy.com, said insurers are padding their margins and doing it for loans that usually result in the least amount of money recovered during defaults.

Read the full article here.

Well hello there!

Looky here, it’s the end of another week already and you probably already know what that means…

Friday Free-for-all time!

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

But first a note. Many news sites have moved to a subscription model which limits views of articles (hello Globe and Mail!). This is a bit of a downer for a news and link round-up feature since you might use up your monthly limited article views on articles that don’t interest you beyond their headline.

So with that in mind we’re switching most of our FFFA links to the original VCI comment that pointed them out.  This means you get the context with selected quotes or excerpts to decide if you want to follow the link to the original article and you can see who here originally pointed out the article, but it means you need to click an extra link to read the full story.

Does this change drive you crazy as an overbred purse dog or are you west-coast chill about it? As always your comments about this change are welcome.

OK! Now here are the links to kick off the chat:

-Did you short Genworth at the right time?
-There will be fewer hungry realtors this month
-All about those rates?
-Vancouver is the next… Calgary?!?
-Economy shrinks
-Over 55? Stop paying property tax sucker!
-Who ya gonna blame for this crazy market?
-What is the Difference between bulls and bears?
-An orderly correction please.

So what are you seeing out there?

Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent long weekend filled with bunnies, eggs and chocolate!

The term ‘Dutch Disease‘ refers to an increase in natural resource based economy crowding out manufacturing and other sectors. It’s also a stand in descriptor for taking all your winnings in a booming market and re-investing them in the same market.

When Oil prices were high, both the province of Alberta and the country of Norway benefited from a petroleum based economy, but they approached the future in different ways.

Brian Ripley over at CHPC summarizes Bruce Campbells take-away of the differences between these two economies approach to oil wealth:

Alberta’s so called “progressive” conservative governments; 7 consecutive iterations since 1971, have squandered their provincial energy resources leaving their treasury with a CAD 12 billion dollar debt and a 500 million dollar deficit.

Norway, a county of 5.2 million people (Alberta’s population is similar at 4.2 million), began their first successful North Sea oil drilling in 1971 and by maintaining sovereign control and creating partnerships with the private sector “… now sits on top of a CAD ONE TRILLION DOLLAR pension fund established in 1990 to invest the returns of oil and gas. The capital has been invested in over 9,000 companies worldwide including over 200 in Canada. IT IS NOW THE LARGEST SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND IN THE WORLD”

Read the full article over at CHPC.

Good news!

There was a big jump in full time jobs in February!

The bad news?

Some people think this is ‘unsustainable‘ because most of the jobs were in construction or ‘public sector’ and the recent drop in oil prices may have an effect on these parts of the economy.

Screenshot 2015-03-29 18.03.24

 

But in the meanwhile if you’re looking for work and want to know who’s hiring find your nearest construction pit or government office.

Read the original article over at wolfstreet.

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.

It’s the end of another beautiful work week and if you’ve been here before you know what that means:

Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our traditional 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:

-Burnaby new condo sales get tough
-Debt ridden couple want it all
-Housing market hints at declines
-Is it ok to panic?
-Consumer spending plunges
-Are Canadians spent?
-Local realtor anecdotes
-Blame the CMHC?
-Dollar-a-day mortgage deal
-Video archive of the Bubble
-How much profit?

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

There’s not a whole lot of hiring going on across Canada at the moment.

For the last 15 months year over year job growth has been under 1 percent.  Apparently this makes it the longest stretch of such low growth outside of recessions in almost 40 years of record keeping.

Employers shed 1,000 positions last month, according to Statistics Canada, and the jobless rate rose two notches to a five-month high of 6.8 per cent as more people looked for work. Annual employment growth has hovered at about 0.6 per cent in the 15 months since December, 2013.

The last period of least 15 months of growth below 1 per cent was during the 2008-2009 recession, when often it slumped into negative territory, according to Statistics Canada.

It’s not all bad news though. While full time employment is not seeing gains temporary and self employment is growing:

In the past year, temporary employment has climbed 2.3 per cent while permanent positions are up 0.1 per cent.

Temp employment – which includes seasonal, contract and casual jobs, accounts for 12 per cent of the total. Self-employment has jumped 2.2 per cent in that time, public-sector employment by 1.2 per cent and that in the private sector by by 0.2 per cent.

Read the full article here.

Garry Marr writes about the situation in Alberta over in the Financial Post. The drop in oil prices has hit their economy first and hardest with sales down by 30-40% over a year ago and growing listings.

So how do you prepare for a surprise economic hit like that?

Simple. Save up to cover for job loss, keep your debts and bills manageable and  don’t get into a situation where you have to sell when everyone else is selling.

Unfortunately Canadians aren’t doing so well on the debt front:

Debt reached an all-time high in the fourth quarter, relative to income. Statistics Canada says the debt to disposable household income ratio is 163.3%, much of it attributable to housing costs.

Read the full article here.

Now normally when you hear about a conspiracy lawsuit against the Bank of Canada, the International Monetary Fund and the Queen of England you would assume Lizard People are involved right?

But in this case the government has already exhausted all but one chance to have the case thrown out and their last chance expires in the next week.

Is it possible the tin foil hats might have something here? Certainly it helps that their lawyer has a history of winning unlikely cases.

So what’s it all about?  Here’s what the Epoch Times says:

Toronto-based COMER and its fellow plaintiffs Ann Emmett and William Krehm are suing over fundamental changes to the Bank of Canada’s role that were made in 1974 when the bank stopped making loans to the government.

The Bank of Canada (BoC) was founded in the Great Depression and played a major role loaning money to the government. It helped finance Canada’s war effort during World War II and could loan money to the government, without interest, if it chose to do so. Any profits the BoC made were returned to the government minus the Bank’s operating expenses. That last point remains the case today, with $1.7 billion sent to the Receiver General annually.

COMER alleges that by no longer providing these loans, the Bank and others named in the suit have forced the government to finance budget deficits by borrowing from private markets and paying hundreds of billions of dollars in interest. Last year, $28 billion—over 10 percent of the federal government’s $277 billion in expenditures—went to servicing the debt.

That’s more than what was spent on National Defence ($21.5 billion) and nearly as much as the Canada health transfer ($30.5 billion).

The Bank of Canada Act allows, or as COMER alleges—requires—the BoC to give the federal government loans up to a total value of one-third of the government’s predicted annual revenues. For provincial governments it is a quarter of those revenues. The loans have to be repaid within the first quarter of the next fiscal year. At that point, the government just needs to pay back the loan with incoming revenues, and take out another loan to make up any deficit.

So in essence, unless our translator has the lizard people language interpretation incorrect, this case is about the national debt and the Bank of Canada’s failure to loan money to the Government of Canada for free.

What do you think? Lizard People are coming to eat your children of something is going to change?

Read the full article here.

Friday Free-for-all!

March 20th, 2015

Really? Is it Friday already?

Time for another Friday Free-for-all!

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

-A 40-50% drop?
-Crazy Canadian Credit
-Victoria Condos up more than houses?
-On it goes
-Meanwhile in Maple Ridge

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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