Developers Reluctant To Share Data; CMHC Abandons Study – “It’s very hard to assess risk in the market when you don’t have insight on the amount of properties being used for investment purposes.”

“An effort to get more information about the influence of some speculators in Toronto’s condo market has collapsed after developers refused to take part, leaving policy makers in the dark.
Urbanation Inc., a data-research firm, has pulled the plug on a survey that it had tried to conduct, with the support of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., to quantify how many “assignments” are taking place in the market. …
The study could have shed light on an aspect of the condo market that economists and policy makers have been worried about, as they have sought to get a handle on just how overheated the market might be and what risks it might pose to home buyers and the greater economy.” …
“There aren’t any good numbers on the amount of properties being used for investment purposes,” said Toronto-Dominion Bank chief economist Craig Alexander. “It’s very hard to assess risk in the market when you don’t have insight on that.” …
“Ben Myers, executive vice-president at Urbanation, said he sent the survey to more than 100 developers that had launched condo projects in the past five years, asking them for either the percentage of units or an exact number of units that had been assigned before the condo buildings were registered. “We wanted to know what’s happening with this shadow market; there’s no real way to track it,” he said. He said that one person he spoke to, outside of the developer community, speculated that “because some of the people assigning units are not paying capital gains taxes on that, developers may not want the government looking into that any further.”

– from ‘Data on condo speculators prove elusive’, Tara Perkins, G&M, 14 Nov 2012 [hat-tip bullwhip29]

Developers would not want to publicize data that brings into question the strength of real demand.
– vreaa

20 responses to “Developers Reluctant To Share Data; CMHC Abandons Study – “It’s very hard to assess risk in the market when you don’t have insight on the amount of properties being used for investment purposes.”

  1. “Asking developers what percentage of their sales are assignments is like asking the Mafia how many people they killed last year.” – Peter Pan, in comment section at G&M 14 Nov 2012

  2. What I find interesting is how developer’s are incapable of avoiding sewing the seeds of their own demise. Once the curtain is raised, the chips are down and the tide is out.

  3. Seeking knowledge...

    Not directly related to this post, but the CBC report on China’s slowing growth may have a bearing on our RE. Not sure if it is sensationalized reporting or a sign of HAM drying up. If it is even half true, this may just be another catalyst to accelerate the spiral.
    http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/The+National/ID/2304698074/

    Speaking of data, as I’m new to this sport of watching Vancouver RE drop, where should I look for a “score card” of month to month price decline? There are so many metrics from so many groups (e.g. vancouverpricedrop is an excellent one), but which one can I use to observe the trend?

  4. Criminals always refuse to compromise themselves or their accomplices when under investigation.

    ‘Nuff said…………

  5. Vancouver Sun – “Vancouver Homes at Rock Bottom Prices – Check out current real estate listings for the 20 lowest-priced homes for sale in the city.”

    http://www.vancouversun.com/homes/Photos+Vancouver+homes+rock+bottom+prices/7549596/story.html

    I couldn’t stop laughing at this – Given the house quality to price ratio in these photos, methinks we are quite far from “rock bottom”.

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      Do I see a new iteration of Crackhouse or mansion?

    • Wow! Garbage at exorbitant prices. What can you get elsewhere? – land- new home- space- a decent job? But it’s worth it because it is Vancouver! There is no more land! Everybody in the world want to live in the best places on earth! It’s different here!!

  6. pricedoutfornow

    “because some of the people assigning units are not paying capital gains taxes on that, developers may not want the government looking into that any further”
    Actually, I heard that CRA considers flipping assignments to be a “venture in the nature of trade” therefore not a capital gain (taxable at 50%) but straight business income (taxable at 100%). I heard of a case in the past, years ago, where the tax office actually got the developers to fork over the information regarding the initial buyers who then flipped the properties before completion, and went after these presale buyers. And also assessed the full GST due on the condo assignment because, if the assignment is sold before occupancy, the condo doesn’t qualify as used residential property (therefore not exempt from GST). Wouldn’t be surprised if they were planning a project in Toronto seeking this information from developers.

  7. “Asking developers what percentage of their sales are assignments is like asking the Mafia how many people they killed last year.”

    Just wait until CRA starts pulling out their fingernails…

  8. Time for RE lobbyists to get busy

  9. It’s hilarious how the refusal to give an answer is the best revealing answer itself…

    • Naked Official #9000

      so true: everyone i’ve sent this link to has said the same thing!

      “never believe anything until it’s been officially denied” – Pilger’s Law or Otto Von Bismarck – either way, words to live by.

      remember when CSIS head Richard Fadden implied that western Canadian politicians were coming under foreign influence?

      guess who the first out of the gate with a press conference lambasting him was?

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2010/06/23/bc-campbell-fadden-csis-reaction.html

      one of my favorite pictures of gordo – i notice the ratings (and comments) are closed now – however, there’s still 577 comments of pure snark to scroll through.

      long before those stupid license plates, i believed BC was, if not a little overpriced, ONE of the best places on Earth; at least for quality of life for families and workers – now it’s just a trough for pigs.

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