Category Archives: 05. Where do Buyers get the money?

First hand accounts of where buyers are getting the cash for their downpayments. Financed by Mom & Pop? Grow-ops? Four jobs? Offshore funds? Robbed a bank? Commodity trades? And so forth..

Vancouver Sun: ‘Tinkering with housing market could be dangerous to economy’

Tinkering with housing market could be dangerous to economy.

“Vancouver’s Unaffordability Freak Show”

graph_2005-2015_0

“The situation ought to be clear to any reasonable person, boomer or millennial: Vancouver’s real estate market is now a world-class freak show.”

– chart and excerpt from ‘Vancouver’s housing crisis: No, not like before, and not like anywhere else (except Hong Kong)’, at Ian Young’s South China Morning Post blog, 3 Jun 2015 [hattip to Brian]

“Canada has the Most Overvalued Housing Market in World”

canada-housing-bubble

“In every inflating bubble, there’s usually two camps. The first group points out various metrics suggesting something is inherently unsustainable, while the second reiterates that this time, it is different.  …

On one side of the ring, we have The Economist, that came out last week saying Canada has the most overvalued housing market in the world. After crunching the data in housing markets in 26 nations, The Economist has determined that Canada’s property market is the most overvalued in terms of rent prices (+89%), and the third most overvalued in terms of incomes (+35%). They have mentioned in the past that the market has looked bubbly for some time, but finally Canada is officially at the top of their list. …

Just over a month ago, the IMF sounded a fresh alarm on Canada’s housing market by saying that household debt is well above that of other countries. Meanwhile, seven in ten mortgage lenders in Canada have expressed “concerns” that the real estate sector is in a bubble that could burst at any time. Deutsch Bank estimates the market is 63% overvalued and readily offers seven reasons why Canada is in trouble. Even hedge funds are starting to find ways to short the market in anticipation of an upcoming collapse. …

On the opposing side of the ring, who will contend that the Canadian housing market is just different this time? Hint: look to the banks and government.

Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, has tried to dispel fears. He recently told a business audience in New York that he didn’t anticipate any housing crisis in Canada.

Just this week, the Bank of Canada also tried its best to deflate housing bubble fears. “We don’t believe we’re in a bubble,” says Stephen Poloz, the Bank’s Governor. “Our housing construction has stayed very much in line with our estimates of demographic demand.”

Poloz suggested that housing costs do not necessarily have to contract to match the incomes of Canadians. Instead, he expects growth in the economy to raise wages and make housing more affordable.

Strangely enough, by the Bank of Canada’s own estimate, the housing market is overvalued by as much as 30%. It is hard for housing to become more affordable when prices are rising in double digits in a year. Combine this with the fact that household debt rates keep setting new records, and one side of the fight might get tilted sooner than later.”

– from Jeff Desjardins, The Visual Capitalist, 1 May 2015

And The Beat Goes On…

Stephen Poloz says up to 30% overvalued housing big risk to economy
CBC, 12 Dec 2014

‘It’s like a ghost town’: lights go out as foreign owners desert London homes
The Guardian, 25 Jan 2015

Great jobs, cash in hand, but no chance in hot housing market
The Globe and Mail, 19 Mar 2015

Vancouver home buyers unfazed by skyrocketing prices
Vancouver Sun, 3 Apr 2015

Prognostications unchanged.
Keep well, all.
Comments only despammed intermittently.
– ed.

Canadians Owe More Than $1.5 Trillion; Up 7.4% From 2013

“Canadians continue to pile on debt and now collectively owe more than $1.5 trillion, according to the latest figures from Equifax Canada.
The consumer credit rating agency says the level at the end of the third quarter was up 7.4 per cent from $1.409 trillion a year ago.
Nearly two-thirds of the total owed, or $985.1 billion, is mortgage debt. Excluding mortgages, the average debt held by Canadians stands at $20,891.”

– from The Canadian Press, 3 Dec 2014

7.4% p.a. Hmmm. Ever wonder where all that RE price inflation comes from?


All the best for the festive season, and wishing you all a very happy 2015.
Regular readers know this blog is dormant (even though the ideas expressed within are very much alive). We leave up the archives because they are, well, archives, and we leave the comments open for discussion (which is only moderated infrequently). Keep well everybody. -vreaa

Vancouver RE – ‘Heaven’ At A ‘Perfect Price’

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“Qiqi Hong walks past her sleek, blue-tiled hot tub and an infinity pool that seems to disappear like a waterfall into the chilly air above West Vancouver. She leans on the patio railing and breathes in the majestic ocean view that takes in the towering Douglas firs of Stanley Park, the skyscrapers of Vancouver, the Asia-bound freighters anchored in English Bay and – way off in the misty distance – the faint, rugged outline of Gabriola Island.

“We’re in heaven,” says Ms. Hong. “I can’t find any house that can compare to my house.”

The serene West Coast lifestyle did not come cheaply: Ms. Hong’s home cost $6-million. But it is an investment she can easily afford. The irrepressible businesswoman founded a successful lighting-design business in Beijing that thrived in China’s building boom. It now has more than 100 employees. But tired of Beijing’s hectic pace and foul air, she decided to come to Vancouver – after looking in Switzerland, Germany and the United States – on the Canadian government’s immigrant investor program in 2011. She now also owns three other houses on Vancouver’s west side, each valued in excess of $1.3-million, as well as a downtown condo she uses on weekends and lends to visiting friends.

“Some now say Vancouver is a bedroom community for the world.”…

“In my opinion, I think it’s good for the economy,” Ms. Hong says, noting that the number of Chinese residents on her street has soared in recent years and that the local businessman she bought her house from made a cool $1.5-million more than he originally paid. “In Vancouver,” Ms. Hong says, “the house prices are perfect.”

Dan Scarrow, who recently opened an office in Shanghai for Vancouver-based Macdonald Realty Ltd., one of the largest real estate firms in British Columbia, makes no apologies for courting prospective home buyers in China. He says 178 of the firm’s 531 sales of single-family detached homes within Vancouver’s city limits last year – or 33.5 per cent – went to buyers with ties to China. …

“Vancouver has become a global resort city. The prices have decoupled from local wages,” says Mr. Scarrow, whose mother, Lynn Hsu, moved from Taiwan to Vancouver in 1979 and is now president and majority owner of Macdonald Realty.

As he pursues investors in Shanghai, he intends to steer buyers toward commercial properties if they have no interest in settling down in Vancouver. Some foreign buyers have purchased Vancouver real estate purely as an investment, without occupying the properties or renting them out, but that has triggered some resentment because it’s sometimes seen as detracting from the vitality of a neighbourhood.

But in general, Mr. Scarrow believes the positives of offshore money far outweigh negatives. Baby boomers can cash out at a profit and downsize with enough money left to help out their children. Selling houses also increases sales of appliances, furniture and home renovations. Vancouver’s housing market has become an important ecosystem unto itself, which explains why developers are anxious to keep foreign money flowing.

– From The Globe and Mail, 10 Oct 2014

Unwise to get into bidding wars with multi-millionaires who think they are buying ‘heaven’.
Perhaps the ‘Monaco’ scenario (kinda akin to “bedroom community for the world” scenario) will come to pass, and Vancouver RE will forever be disconnected from local fundamentals. Or perhaps not.
-ed.

G&M – “Canada’s housing bubble about to burst, author says”

Hilliard MacBeth found his Canadian clients were “obsessed” with RE; he has written a book about the Canadian RE bubble & is calling for a 40%-50% price drop.
He also references “a very wise and astute money manager”, Jeremy Grantham.
Watch video here.

“Every single bubble bursts”.
G&M, 24 Sep 2014