RBC sees mortgage rates going up instead of flat or down.

Their forecast is for housing to get less affordable due to rate increases.

The Royal Bank of Canada says the ability of Canadians to keep up with housing costs has been improving of late, but warns that’s about to change.

RBC’s latest housing affordability measure shows home servicing costs relative to incomes dipped slightly in the last three months of 2013 after having risen the previous two quarters.

But the relief will be temporary, the bank says in a new report, because mortgage rates are due to start rising this year.

“RBC anticipates that as longer-term interest rates begin to moderately rise, the costs of owning a home at market value will gradually outpace (growth) household incomes by late-2014, leading to strained affordability in several markets across Canada, much like the trend in Toronto,” RBC chief economist Craig Wright said in the report.

The finding bucks the recent trend, which has seen mortgage rates remain stable or even moving lower, with some brokers offering five-year fixed rates below three per cent.

Read the full article here.

Hey! It’s that time of the week again!

You made it to the end of another work week and that means it’s time for our 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 links to kick off the chat:

-Even real estate consultants hate condo towers
-Crappy buildings spur inspectors retirement
-home is retirement plan for 24% of Canadians
-Budget uses ‘make believe’ family income
-homes: Buy one get one free
-

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

From the obvious files: expensive homes are expensive.

The Globe and Mail has an article about changing attitudes towards real estate by Generation Y in Vancouver.

Essentially: they are more inclined to live urban and remain mobile.

They also say that Boomers are downsizing into condos.

Ben Smith, VP of sales and marketing at Rennie & Associates, says he’s already seen a major shift in the last six months. This year he’s seen a sudden surge in demand for three-bedroom condos, purchased by downsizing boomers. Those boomers are trading their homes for spacious condos. Those same boomers are helping their kids with a down payment on their own condo, which is the only way a lot of Millennials will ever afford to live in Vancouver.

“It’s exciting, because for years we’ve been talking about this, and we’re finally seeing it happen,” he says. “There is $88-billion worth of clear-title real estate tied up with boomers. In B.C. and Vancouver especially, we are all equity and no income. If you don’t have that down payment, you don’t have a home.”

Read the full article here.

Your racism is boring us all

February 18th, 2014

Yes, yes, I know you’re not a racist.

But see the thing is it’s easy to get worked up over perceived issues of unfairness and drift into blaming entire cultures for your woes.  Are there wealthy Chinese assholes buying real estate in Vancouver?  Well yeah.  Are there wealthy assholes from other countries buying real estate?  What about wealthy asshole Canadians?  Uh huh. check and check.

But what does this have to do with the price of that leaky house in east van you’ve got your eye on?  Do you really think the global elite are competing for that unit and pricing you out and that the insane growth in Canadian debt loads and bubble prices across the country is not a factor?  If so you’re the ideal sucker for a real estate marketer.

The fact is that even if you’re on welfare in Canada you’re probably better off than most people in China.  Heck, you’re better off than the majority of people in the world.  But it’s a lot easier to notice that teenager in a Lamborghini than to be thankful for what you’ve got.

Now clearly not everyone agrees that an endless discussion over ‘HAM’ is mind-boggling boring, but if you do please consider down-voting repetitive blame comments and trolls but up voting informative fact filled comments.

For a site without active moderation we’ve been remarkably lucky to have interesting conversations and generous people sharing information and data that is hard to find anywhere else.  Lets try to keep that way.  Our hope is that the community comment rating system can be used by you the reader to shape the discussion away from blaming cultures and down to blaming the real drivers of a housing bubble: speculators, buyers, government and lenders.

 

 

Posted in opinion | 76 Comments »

The vacant remand center in the downtown eastside is going to see new life as affordable and low income housing.

In a $13 million dollar project, the former jail cells are being converted into homes.

In addition to the residential units, the development will include the conversion of the existing jail gymnasium to a multi-purpose room, a community garden in the courtyard, a communal lounge and a bicycle storage facility.

“By combining affordable housing with support services and job training opportunities, we’re providing quality housing and strengthening the Downtown Eastside economy at the same time,” said Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson.

The remand centre functioned as a jail for those not yet convicted of crimes, including the Air India bombing suspects, for 30 years before closing in 2002. The property has sat vacant ever since, prompting Vision Vancouver to recommend repurposing the space in 2006.

Read the full article over at Global News.

Hey, you made it to the end of another work week, congratulations!

And here at VCI, that means it’s 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:

-Wish I never downsized to a condo
-Mortgage changes in 2014 budget
-Wealthy moving to Vancouver
-Ooops, maybe not
-Every city is just like Vancouver
-Consumer debt keeps swelling
-25 cent Crack pipe vending machine
-Next crisis not from emerging markets
-Craigslist aids crackdown on illegal suites
-

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

 

A new report from CIBC is warning of an excess of rental units in Toronto and Vancouver.

They are basing this outlook on the large number of condos being built in both cities and predict a less than half point rise in vacancy rates, so ‘warning’ sounds a bit strong.

The concern is that increased competition for good renters could drive owners to sell their condos, leading to a further downturn in the condo resales market.

Economists and policy makers have worried that an “increased supply of rental units will flood the market and will lead to a wave of sales by disappointed investors with no bargaining power,” Mr. Tal writes in the report. The Bank of Canada highlighted concerns about the condo market in December when it outlined the key risks to the economy.

“A sharp correction in the condominium market could spread to other segments of the housing market with stretched valuations, as buyers and sellers adjust their expectations of the future path of house prices,” the central bank warned. “Such a correction could also have significant repercussions on the real economy, since the construction sector is an important component of economic activity.”

Read the full article here.

The federal government has announced that they are closing the immigrant investor program.

So how does this wash out with Vancouver HAM-hype?

If prices crash now does that mean that all the salespeople that used ‘foreign money’ instead of ‘in debt locals’ as a justification for high prices were correct?

A source said the government is acting based on data that show that, 20 years after arriving in Canada, an immigrant investor has paid about $200,000 less in taxes than a newcomer who came in under the federal skilled worker program, and almost $100,000 less than one who was a live-in caregiver.

In the past 28 years, more than 130,000 people have come to Canada under the investor program, including applicants and their families.

And what about those ‘in debt locals’?

Turkey shared some interesting numbers on the sheer size of Canadian debt growth:

Let’s start with non-mortgage debt:

Equifax said Monday that its figures show that consumer debt, excluding mortgages, rose to $518.3-billion through the end of November 2013. That was up 4.2 per cent from $497.4-billion a year earlier.

Up 20 billion dollars in a year; the total is 520 billion. That works out to about $15k per Canadian man, woman, and child.

Meanwhile, overall consumer debt, including mortgages, also continues to rise — up 9.1 per cent to $1.422-trillion from $1.303-trillion a year earlier.

Up 120 billion dollars in a year; the total is 1.42 billion. That’s about $41k per Canadian man, woman, and child.

Now the editorializing bit.

High debt levels are not a big concern in current conditions, which signal a stabilizing economy, improvement in the unemployment rate and an anticipated gradual increase in interest rates.

An increase in debt, by itself and without context, is not a troubling sign in an improving economy. It’s the friggin’ size of the thing that’s a catastrophe! These numbers are absurd. Plus, BC’s numbers have traditionally been worse.

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

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

-Vancouver bubble does its own thing
-VancouverPriceDrop is back
-Buy or Rent?
-A Vancouver Calculator
-Locals bid up prices, blame outsiders
-Latest stats, 21 months since peak?
-Singapore headed for Iceland style meltdown?
-

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

*The blog doesn’t think. The blog is made up of comments from thousands of different people, some of whom agree with one another, some who don’t.   

Somebody over at TD bank looked in their crystal ball and saw interest rates rising.

They say that a combination of factors including increasing supply, softening demand and the expectation of rising interest rates mean that home price across the nation are overvalued by about 10%.

It says markets such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa are likely more overvalued than markets in the Prairie and Atlantic regions, and will likely see more of an impact.

The national housing market and worries about a real estate bubble have been key concerns for policy-makers for several years.

Recent indicators have suggested the market may be headed for a soft landing instead of a bubble bursting, but concerns have persisted.

Full article here.

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