“Here’s some bearish banking gossip for you as you wait for the Vancouver RE price decline…”

“Here’s some bearish gossip for you as you wait for the decline. A friend of mine, who used to work in banking, called his old boss who is now in Alberta. He called her about the mortgage changes because he is gleefully waiting for prices to deflate and wanted to solicit her opinion. She said something along the lines of hang onto your hats. The banks (like hers) may choose to no longer offer 30 year mortgages on non-CMHC-insured mortgages. They are intending to comply not just with the letter of the OFSI guidelines but with the spirit of what Flaherty is trying to achieve. That’s because…
Apparently, the word on the street is Flaherty got wind that BMO was about to launch a 5-yr mortgage at 2.09% and he flipped. He was already pissed at the endless development he was seeing in the Toronto condo market and the high level of speculation. He called all the bank heads into a meeting and told them to cut out all the shenanigans. Then the next day, to everyone’s surprise, he announced the end of the 30-yr amortizations.
This nice-lady-at-the-bank has been declining HELOCs and mortgages ever since. Everything iffy that comes across her desk is getting kaiboshed. She thinks Alberta will get creamed if other banks are doing what she’s doing.”

mac at VCI 25 Jun 2012 8:46pm

26 responses to ““Here’s some bearish banking gossip for you as you wait for the Vancouver RE price decline…”

  1. Renters Revenge

    Credit freeze, yippee! //sarc

    (Anyone “gleefully” waiting for prices to deflate has no idea what deflation really entails.)

    • After a decade of house porn and listening to co-workers talk real estate and brag about their “equity”, some of us are indeed ready to cut off our noses to spite our faces. My knife is sharpened.

  2. Alberta’s a bit of a unique case because of their non-recourse laws with certain mortgage types. If CMHC is clamming up lenders in Alberta need to find other avenues to hedge.

  3. If today’s numbers are any indication….

    • It’s looking rather 2008, given lending is slated to be pulled back very soon. Still, I would never underestimate the power of liquidity!

  4. I am not sure how much of this hearsay is accurate but if it’s true, it is very telling of the mess we are currently in.

  5. Wow. This anecdote today relates to what I just heard too. I talked to my bank lady. Refi’s are going to be dead is what she told me. That’s the chatter inside about where the pressure will be relieved. No more toys, trips, fancy renos for ego and all the other superfluous lending. I didn’t ask for details…just listened. And there has not been a big rush of applications to meet the deadlines either. What a difference one week makes.

    • So I might not have to listen to my coworkers blab about their HELOC-financed trips anymore? This RE crash thing keeps looking better. I wish it would hurry along now though.

  6. It’s about time.

    We might just see some financial responsibility among the populace (and banks), even if it has to be mandated by the state. I’m all for free markets, but they have become anything but.

    • The market has become juiced to the demand side, complements of removing lender risk from the lender and putting it on the books of the CMHC, backed by the taxpayer. Some market discipline right now it exactly what the doctor ordered.

  7. As I’ve always said… There are no victims as a result of credit freezes, just volunteers.

  8. It’ll be interesting to see how Alberta is affected, if at all. Local incomes are far more in line with prices. Both are high, one still probably too high as its regained the peak. That was when oil and gas prices could only go up, though, and thousands were pouring into the province. With continued weakness in o&g prices, smaller companies are cutting capital budgets and many projects are under pressure. The perils of following the drama of Vancouver’s bubble makes the local situation seem reasonable by comparison, though!

    • Natural gas prices are at multi-year lows and will probably go up from here.

    • Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs

      Comment posted by cbgb on Vancouver Condo Info yesterday regarding the Alberta economy:

      “Just got back from visiting friends in Calgary, lots of young rich oil guys…. many are very nervous. One guy, who is part owner of an oil services company, admitted is having trouble sleeping. He was looking at mercs, beemers, lexus’… ended up buying a used KIA! Another guy was in exploration, part owner of a company. They are currently just sitting on cash waiting to vulture, they go to work everyday and do nothing. His thoughts were that the Bakken field in North Dakota was going to kill alberta as it was cheaper to get the oil out and it is closer to markets.”

      • Many of the SAGD projects being planned are viable at $60 per barrel of bitumen. The price is currently $50. Unless the market turns, lots of work may dry up this fall. Unemployment in Alberta could move up from 4% to 7 or 8%, putting pressure on local house prices.This could also kick the legs out from under prices on Vancouver Island and the Okanagan.
        Joe Blown makes a good point about the poor profit prospects of oil sands operations that would likely surprise people not in the business.

  9. And what a juicy tid bit of bearish gossip it is. Has the ring of truth to it, but maybe that’s just because it reinforces what I already want to believe. I am human after all. 🙂

  10. too much debt

    Here is an email I received from a mortgage broker who sends me spam emails in disguise of information….just though you may find it interesting…

    Dear xxxx:

    Last week the Ministry of Finance and OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions) announced several new tougher guidelines for mortgage qualification. This week it’s apparent that many borrowers are unaware of 2 important details:

    1. The Effective Date of the new rules is July 9th (in 7 business days). * Applications must be submitted before this date;

    2. BOTH Insured and Conventional (Uninsured) mortgages are affected.

    Click to access b20_e.pdf

    Briefly, the major changes are:


    * Maximum LTV (Loan-to-Value) reduced from 85% to 80%.

    * Maximum Ammortization reduced from 30 to 25 Years.

    * Maximum GDSR (Gross Debt Service Ratio) reduced from 44% to 39%


    * Maximum Ammortization reduced from 30 to 25 Years.

    * Maximum GDSR (Gross Debt Service Ratio) reduced from 44% to 39%.

    * Maximum Purchase Price now $1M.

    Additional Changes:

    * Line-of-Credit LTV reduced from 80% to 65%.

    * Increased Qualifying Interest Rates.

    * Increased income verification / reasonability tests for ‘Stated Income’

    * Cash Back programs may no longer be used for Down Payment.

    Some affects of the new rules are obvious, such as greatly reduced purchasing power. Example: A borrower with an annual income of $65K and 5% Down Payment can purchase a $500K home before July 9th and a $410K home after the deadline. However, many of the affects aren’t as apparent for existing borrowers. Example: If the same borrower with an annual income of $65K purchased a home 4 years ago at $500K with 10% Down Payment and Variable Rate Mortgage at Prime -.75% with 35 Yr. Ammortization, even with a 5% Property Value increase ($525K), the current Loan-to-Value is 83%. After July 9th, the borrower would Not qualify for their existing mortgage both because their service ratios and Loan-to-Value are exceeded. Therefore, they are unable to shop competitively for Refinance, Transfer, Debt Consolidation, Equity Take-Out etc. and most likely limited solely to the Conversion and/or Renewal offers (ie. Posted Rates) from their existing lender.

    Considering the new rules are intended in part to cool the housing market (and possibly reduce values), an increasing number of borrowers could be affected.

    Today’s Best Fixed Rates:

    1 Year @ 2.89%
    3 Year @ 2.69%
    4 Year @ 2.95%
    5 Year @ 3.05%
    10 Year @ 3.83%

    Very Best,

  11. Oh-oh, I was expecting that the changes are mostly going to affect the PURCHASE situation but from this e-mail I can see that there are lots of changes affecting REFINANCE situation…means large numbers of the homeowners affected…I am now worried about my friend that took HELOC on her primary residence for a downpayment hers kids home. They might not survive the refinancing after she pulls her HELOC money out – she already asked them for the money, assuming they build enough equity in their home as the price incerased in about 4-5 years they own the home.
    I am wondering what number be used by the banks as the home value when refinancing – the yearly assesed value from the BC property assesement office or they are going to make a guesstimate based on a declining market?

  12. Unable to qualify for a mortgage… OneEnglishman’s CreativeSolution to OverpricedHousing… (almost a ‘SideBar’ in it’s own right, eh wot Ed?)..

    [DailyMail] – Property hunter spends £11,000 turning double-decker bus into his new home after being priced out of housing market

    …”Daniel Bond, 28, spent four gruelling months and £11,000 turning the neglected vehicle into a luxury two bedroom home. The self employed auto-electrician was desperate to move in with girlfriend, Stacey Drinkwater, 20, but the young couple were left stumped by ‘ridiculous’ house prices.”….


  13. In other news ‘creative housing solutions’, heir presumptive to China’s presidency, Xi Jinping apparently has so many homes he’s forgotten about some of them… Well, at least he doesn’t have to worry about qualifying for a mortgage on a VancouverSpecial under the NewRules…

    [BloomBerg] – Xi Jinping Millionaire Relations Reveal Fortunes of Elite

    …”While the [Xi’s family] investments are obscured from public view by multiple holding companies, government restrictions on access to company documents and in some cases online censorship, they are identified in thousands of pages of regulatory filings. The trail also leads to a hillside villa overlooking the South China Sea in Hong Kong, with an estimated value of $31.5 million. The doorbell ringer dangles from its wires, and neighbors say the house has been empty for years. The family owns at least six other Hong Kong properties with a combined estimated value of $24.1 million.”…


  14. Much as I’d like to believe this anecdote there is no way that any major bank would offer a discounted rate at only 75 – 100 bps above the 5yr CGB. I call BS.

  15. bcj,

    I agree with you. However, there must be some smart people out there who are working inside the lending operations of big banks. PLEASE POST and tell us what is going on.

    • A surprising number of the ‘smart people’ have been replaced by algorithmic ‘expert systems’/AI, HAM Solo… accordingly, if any of the algos would care to respond to HAM’s request… it would be a splendid opportunity for the VREAA community to conduct a crowd sourced TuringTest.

      Come on algos, ChipUp, SpillTheBeans!

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