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.
The Condo King has emerged from hibernation and seen no shadow: that means two more years of bubble.
“We no longer live in Vancouver. We live on the planet.”
With that remark, renowned Vancouver realtor Bob Rennie attempted to explain the evolution of this city’s exasperating housing market.
He made the comment last week to a conference of the Urban Land Institute, an organization representing realtors and developers who intimately understand what the condo guru was referring to.
Full article in the Vancouver Sun.
I’m so sick of hearing realtors and mortgage brokers complain about the new CMHC rules.
The government isn’t really bringing in some tough new restrictions, they’re simply rolling back some of their bubble incentives.
The Feds clearly wanted to juice housing and that’s what they got.
Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says the No. 1 risk to the Canadian economy is a housing bubble. Good grief! How on earth did rock-stable, good-banking, solid-regulating Canada end up on the edge of a possible real estate crisis? Simple. In Canada as elsewhere, housing is a political business policymakers find irresistible. There’s always some government policy — low interest rates, first-time home-buyer incentives, high-ratio mortgages, mortgage insurance, capital gains exemptions, interest deductibility — available to government agencies to bolster the feel-good business of home ownership.
It’s a global phenomenon, from Ireland to Spain, from Britain to the United States. Housing bubbles — rocketing prices following by plummeting prices — are not new to the world economy. The last decade, however, has left an unprecedented trail of housing price chaos and disaster. The similarities from one country to another are unmistakable.
We saw what was happening in the states, and still the government moved amorts from 30 to 40 years and flooded the housing market with money. Where did they expect this to lead?
You’ve probably noticed lots of eye rolling around here anytime someone mentions how Canadian banks are so different from US banks. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is now pointing out in a report that Canadian banks actually received a multibillion dollar bailout from October 2008 to July 2010. The government is being accused of offering ‘liquidity support’ that is much higher than originally reported.
All told, the study counts $114 billion worth of guarantees and financial aid for Canada’s big banks from government agencies such as the Bank of Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
MacDonald combed through financial reports from government institutions as well as quarterly reports from the banks themselves.
He says the government has been obfuscating the true cost of supporting the banks.
“A healthy and resilient banking sector cannot operate under a shroud of secrecy. Details of the massive taxpayer support Canadian banks received should be released in the name of transparency and accountability,” MacDonald said.
They also point out that the heads of Canada’s big banks received large raises during the time this ‘liquidity support’ was offered.