Friday Free-for-all!

May 15th, 2015

It’s that time of the week again…

Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our standard 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:

How about more taxes?
Not all owners oppose lower prices
Equity Protection
What a realtor says
The premier wedge issue?
Lessons learned in the 80s?
Harper warns of high debt

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

 

A recent petition seems to have gotten enough attention to get the Premier to comment on the issue of limits to foreign buyers of BC real estate.  This article say’s she’s sitting on the fence, but her quote seems to pretty clearly have a message for struggling first time buyers in BC:

“By trying to move foreign buyers out of the market, housing prices overall will drop. That’s good for first time home buyers, but not for anybody who’s depending on the equity in their home to maybe get a loan or use that to finance some other projects.”

Which category do you think holds about 70% of the voting population?

Yesterday we posted about the record debt levels of Canadians – most of that growth happening in mortgage and line of credit debt.

Some people think low interest rates and CMHC backed mortgage debt is to blame for high house prices, while others blame foreign buyers in cities like Vancouver and Toronto.

Would you support restricting foreign ownership of property the same way they do in countries like Mexico, China and Australia?

Some people certainly would. This petition on change.org has grown by more than 10,000 signatures in the last few days and is currently at the top of todays active list on that site.

Here’s the link to the petition if you support this idea – how many signatures do you think it would take to get politicians to support limitations on foreign buyers and how would they convince home sellers that this is a good idea?

The Globe and Mail nicely sums up the current Canadian obsession with taking on household debt. This infographic has all the pretty charts related to the current situation in which current debt totals a record $1.8 trillion. Just over a trillion of that is Mortgage debt, with the other big growth seen in lines of credit and car loans.

One Trillion is a big number and it can be hard to visualize.  Here’s one way to put it into perspective:

If you spent $1-million every day, it would take you 2,740 years to spend $1-trillion.

Albertans carry the largest debt to income ratio followed by BC. It seems the nation loves debt, but the west loves it best.

Read the full article here.

Friday Free-for-all!

May 8th, 2015

It’s the end of another work week and 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:

CMHC: All is well in Vancouver
New Highrise to have ‘poor doors’ 
Alberta impact on BC Real Estate?
Ontario condo market a risk to economy
US Mortgage rates rising

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

RFM has posted an updated Vancouver Realtor Hunger Index for April 2015.

The index now stands at 37%.

As RFM says:

he VANCOUVER REALTOR HUNGER INDEX is the percent of realtors who earned no commission income for the stated month. For April 2015 the VRHI was 37%. How does this compare? The 18-year average for April is 41%. At 37%, the 2015 April VRHI was higher than 5 years, the same as one year and lower than 11 years since 1998. Sales outpacing listings? Prices strongly increasing? Consult the DSM-5 for a complete explanation! (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders.)

Details and comparison data for 18 years at: http://vancouverpeak.com/showthread.php?tid=64

southseacompany pointed out this article in the Financial Post:

You can walk away from your mortgage (if you live in Alberta) but should you?

“Francis, a 34-year-old welder from the mining town of Grande Cache, Alberta, says he wishes he could get out of the townhouse he bought four years ago.”

“He bought the home for $175,000 with a five per cent downpayment but still owes $150,000 on his mortgage. He says the market for his home has collapsed in his town and a realtor just told him the best price he could expect is $75,000.”

“Since the loan is “under water,” his bank would be left with a shortfall that CMHC would have to cover. The Crown corporation would likely sue him for any losses it has to cover, so if he has any assets, CMHC will go after him.”

“Handing over the keys to the house and walking away from your mortgage, called “jingle mail,” was a defining act of the American housing crisis and helped send the market south of the border into a deeper tailspin.”

Interesting theory, but as we actually saw in the US states with recourse loans (i.e. Nevada, Florida) saw just as much of a collapse as non-recourse states.

Friday Free-for-all!

May 1st, 2015

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:

How much is Canada overvalued?
More on debt levels
CMHC rates correction risk low
Raise taxes?
Everyone wants to live in… LA?
Poloz: no risk of bubble
Developer is corruption suspect?
What if you could only get 5 mortgages?
Yellens’ zombie economy

So what are you seeing out there?

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

The city of Vancouver is looking at the issue of vacant homes and has expressed interest in building a website to allow people to report vacancies.

“We’ve all heard people asking why Vancouver is so expensive and telling us to look at all these empty houses. It’s a persistent question, so let’s get to the bottom of it and find out,” Coun. Kerry Jang said on Sunday.

Jang said he often receives feedback from frustrated residents blaming vacant homes and prospective foreign owners on Vancouver’s high housing prices, but the city is unsure whether those claims are justified and to what extent.

Jang said he personally is unsure whether those claims are true or not.
“That’s what we’re trying to find out,” he said.

Read the full article over at metronews.

Posted in BC, data, supply | 73 Comments »

Well! They could have told us this earlier and saved us a lot of time… Turns out desperate tweets won’t solve our housing cost problems.

Sociologist Nathan Lauster calls the current clash the “intergenerational drama of urban house ownership as a life goal.”

“It produces this sensation for a lot of people like you’re trying to make a home on quicksand,” says Lauster, who is part of UBC’s urban studies department.

“So you’re trying to do everything that you think is right, everything that your parents have done, and it’s still not going to be enough.”

But home ownership hasn’t always been the ultimate goal for a family. In Germany, for instance, renting is the norm.

And in Vancouver, in recent years, it seems people don’t just want a home, they want a perfect home, tearing down old stock to build new mansions, ripping rather than renovating.

“There are a lot of different ways to live. But a lot of policy and a lot of our intergenerational culture has encouraged only one way, and that’s the single family house,” says Lauster.

‘Dr. Zen’ in the comments section of that article has one possible fix:

Solution… leave Vancouver. You will not regret it.

Read the full article here.

 

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