The CMHC is predicting declining house sales in the lower mainland over the next couple of years due to higher mortgage interest rates.
“Total housing starts will edge higher as resale market conditions remain balanced and the supply of completed and unabsorbed (unsold) new homes trends lower,” said CMHC B.C. regional economist Carol Frketich.
“Housing demand will be supported by employment and population growth, but tempered by gradually rising mortgage interest rates.”
They are predicting price growth of 1.2 and 1.7% (unclear if this is before or after inflation) and they forecast this based on an assumption of a shift to ‘lower cost housing’.
Which might be good news for anyone trying to sell ‘lower cost housing’ since prices on Vancouver homes under $1.1 million have gone essentially nowhere over the last four years.
There’s an article over at the CBC on the CMHC and CEO Evan Siddall.
Mr. Siddall is of the opinion that the CMHC should not be privatized as it acted as a ‘shock absorber’ during the last correction, but does think the banks should take on a share of the risk for insured mortgages.
“That ultimately will be a decision for government to make and we’re in the process of looking at different options that will take a few years to evaluate, but the idea is that people should have skin in the game,”
“In the insured mortgage businesses, the banks offload all that risk to the government through CMHC, The government’s interested in taking a reduced role in the housing market … so we’ll look at different ways to share risks with lenders.
What do you think, should the CMHC force banks to take on more responsibility for the insured loans they hand out or would the banks just use that as an excuse to charge more?
Read the full article here.
The CEO of the CMHC is saying that although some Canadian house prices are certainly too high, they aren’t worried about a market collapse at this point.
One option they are considering as a way to help cool an overheated market is sharing mortgage loan risk with the banks that are handing out loans.
The mortgage insurance that CMHC and its two competitors sell repays banks when consumers default on their mortgages. At the moment it makes the banks whole. The OECD has called for changes to the system to ensure that lenders take on more of the risk. In other countries with mortgage insurance, the product tends to only cover 10 to 30 per cent of the losses. In his speech, Mr. Siddall said that CMHC is evaluating “risk-sharing with lenders to further confront moral hazard” and is advising the government about its thoughts.
Read the full article here.
Hat-tip to southseacompany.
This is probably the first housing editorial in The Province that most readers here can agree on. Well, the headline any ways:
Politicians shouldn’t meddle with the housing market.
Imagine a world where the government didn’t meddle with the housing market. There would be no CMHC insuring close to $600 Billion in mortgages, instead lenders would loan based only on their own assessment of risk. There would be no HBP, no HOG. In 2006 there would not have been the rule change that allowed zero down 40 year mortgages with interest only payments for 10 years. After 2008 the CMHC wouldn’t have purchased $69 billion of mortgages off bank books.
But of course you’ve probably figured out that this Province editorial isn’t about that. No, this editorial is about someone suggesting we should levy a tax on vacant properties, likely the tiniest possible example you could find for ‘meddling’ in the housing market.
Wong is not alone in unfairly blaming foreign investors for Vancouver’s high housing prices. The reality is that real estate is a commodity whose price is set in a free market, appropriately, through the forces of supply and demand. No one has a “right” to own a house in a particular city or neighbourhood, and it’s about time that people like Wong and her COPE and NDP pals stopped promoting such notions, especially when it involves taking money from one group and giving it to another. You want a house? Work hard and buy one — or move somewhere cheaper.
Read the full editorial here.
At first glance the new CMHC rules sounds like a minor tweak rather than a major change, and it might be just that.
When the CMHC announced the change they specified that the products being eliminated made up less than 3% of their insured mortgage products by number of mortgages. What we haven’t seen anywhere are numbers in mortgage value, and BOM pointed this out yesterday:
“The Crown corporation has been offering insurance on second homes since 2005. It has been offering insurance to self-employed people without strong income validation since 2007.”
And then read this:
“CMHC says its second home program and its self-employed-without-third-party-income-validation programs combined account for less than 3 per cent of its insurance business volumes in term of the numbers of mortgages insured.”
CHMC has a pool of mortgages insured accumulated over the last 25 years. They have only offered the products they are cancelling for 7 to 9 years but they make up 3% of that pool. Simple math indicates over the last 7 years about 10% of mortgages would have been part of the program they are cancelling otherwise it could never reach 3% of the total pool which was already significant prior to the program starting.
So how much demand was there for insured mortgages on second homes and mortgages for the self employed without income verification? The numbers may be higher than we first thought.