Tag Archives: BOC

As oil, so goes Real Estate?

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.

Does the Bank of Canada Think Real Estate Buyers are Suckers?

Some of you are under the impression that Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz does nothing but sit around all day eating Doritos and watching The West Wing on Netflix, but you are sadly mistaken.

He also issues reports that freak out Realtors.

Consumer debt loads and house prices that could be as much as 30 per cent overvalued are the two biggest risks to Canada’s economy, the Bank of Canada warned in its semi-annual Financial System Review on Wednesday.

Yeah, but “up to 30 percent” includes zero percent over-valued too you know? Surely not everyone is overpaying for Canadian real estate.

The bank says it’s about 95 per cent sure that house prices have been overvalued by an average of about 10 per cent since 2007. That’s based on a new forecasting model the bank says it created, which incorporates existing data from private banks and other government institutions.

Huh. 95% Sure? really? I bet it’s all a’cause of those wealthy foreigners right?

And a lot of those inflated house prices are coming at a cost of rising debt loads. About 12 per cent of Canadian households are considered to be extremely indebted — which means they have a debt-to-income ratio of at least 250 per cent. That ratio has doubled since 2000, the report notes.

Oh.

But that’s ok because younger buyers are building equity right?

Young homeowners, the bank added, have become even more vulnerable to negative shocks to income and to higher interest rates.

Wow. What a buzzkill.

*For those who followed the foreigner link we would like to offer our sincerest apologies.  If you are a glutton for punishment, here’s a video of our prime minister singing Guns n’ Roses “Sweet Child o’ Mine“. If you watch the whole thing you earn a cookie! If you cut it off at 3:33 you have to go to work at a Tim Hortons in Fort Mac. You have been warned.

 

FFFA! Bankrates, Burnaby, Bubbles

It’s that time of the week again!

Time for our end of the week news roundup on open topic discussion thread for the weekend – Friday Free-for-all time!

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

BOC rate stance affect on housing
Burnaby couple wants to pay higher tax
Variable mortgages are safe again
The five largest housing bubbles
Bear motivators
Ownership good or bad for economy?
Vancouver Island investors fear loss
How many Victoria listings are foreclosures?
Ottawa condo surplus

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

The Central Bank That Cried Wolf.

There once was a central banker who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out that some property prices were “probably overvalued“.

The Canadians came running out of their homes to try to pay down their debt and get their finances in order. But when they arrived at the top of the hill, they found record low interest rates and rising property prices along with stagnating incomes. The central banker laughed at the sight of their angry faces.

“Don’t cry ‘high debt loads” said the Canadians, “when there’s no interest rate increases!” They went grumbling back down the hill and signed up for some more mortgages.

The banker was replaced with another, but he played the same naughty game, singing out “The elevated level of household debt and stretched valuations in some segments of the housing market remain an important downside risk to the Canadian economy”

By this time though the Canadians were wise to these pranks and they wisely held their place in the line up for the latest greatest condo pre-sales opportunity.  The banker retired with a gigantic pension and everyone lived happily ever after.

MORAL: Load up on more consumer debt, invest in hot real estate. What could possibly go wrong?

 

Friday Free-for-all on the new site!

Hello everybody, it’s Friday and you know what that means.. It’s Free-for-all time, our end of the week news roundup and open topic discussion thread.

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

BOC warns of ‘debt shock’ if house prices drop
Inventory graph: growth slowing but still steep
RRSP contributions shrink to 1970s levels
Mortgage fraud blooming in Canada
Our debt vs. pre-meltdown levels in USA
Housing Collapse in mississauga. literally.
Shill article linked by Forbes gone from Vancouver Sun?
First time buyer bonus to make a difference in suburbs

If you haven’t been here for a few days you’ll notice some changes. We’ve done a full site overhaul and upgrades and that just might mean somethings aren’t fully working yet.

Please post any issues in the comment section.  We can’t promise they’ll all be addressed, but we’ve been pretty good about responding to requests so far.

A few new things of note:

Formatting Numbers:

For those that like to post numbers in a table format, we’ve added the PRE html tag to help control formatting and a new comment preview button at upper right of the comment box.

This new comment workaround and preview system might help when you’re posting number data.

Avatars

For those of you that don’t like Gravatar, we have a new local avatar feature. When you log into your VCI account you’ll see your user profile edit page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll find a place to upload an avatar.

User Account Cleanup

We’ve had lots of spam account signups lately and we’re starting to purge the user roles for both cleanliness and security. The best way for you to confirm that you’re human is to post an on topic comment after registering for an account. If you register for an account and don’t post any comments your user account will be deleted, especially if your registration email goes to something like spammer@wowfreemoney.con

That’s about it for now, let’s get on with the conversation.

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

 

Update: Patriotz linked to this image of the Macleans March 5th cover, it’s a doozy: