Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced tighter new mortgage regulations last month, requiring a “stress” test for borrowers of Canada’s most common mortgage, the five-year fixed-rate.
It requires borrowers to qualify for loans at the Bank of Canada’s posted rate, which is about two percentage points higher than current offered rates.
Of course, most people aren’t going to see a pay raise of 20 per cent or more this fall, so the likely outcome of the new mortgage rules will be a decline in home sales (something the Finance Department itself predicted) and slowing or declining house prices.
In Toronto, you’ll need nearly 25 per cent more income (an extra $29,000 or so) than before to afford an average house, while in Vancouver you’ll need 27 per cent more — an extra $33,000 in income.
– from Canadians Will Need 20% More Income To Buy That House They Wanted, Huffington Post, 21 Nov 2016
Fortunately, in Vancouver there is no relationship between income and housing prices. So this new rule is unlikely to have any effect. -ed.
“Vancouver has launched a new initiative to develop an inventory of its assets – everything from buildings and cars to its awards programs and even its website – that could make good candidates for sponsorship and naming rights.
The Vancouver consultant is being asked to look at the policies in other cities and then “develop the criteria to identify all marketable components (i.e. programs and facilities) associated with those assets and determine the type of sponsorships that can be leveraged, such as naming rights for a facility.” In addition, it will need to explain why some assets are not appropriate for naming rights or sponsorships.
The final report is supposed to “provide the City with realistic revenue projections and return on investment based on various sponsorship/agreement terms (e.g. 5, 10, 15, 20 years)” and “suggest how the city can maximize the market value of these assets or potential revenues via targeted sponsorships and bundling.”
– from ‘Vancouver to develop list of assets eligible for sponsorship, naming rights’, Frances Bula, G&M, 18 Nov 2016
“Berlin and Vancouver are very, very different cities. Just culturally, it’s extremely different. I went to Berlin because I was making music and art consecutively and it was a place where you could afford to have space and time, which was a tricky thing in Vancouver, and continues to be a very tricky thing as an artist. So Berlin allowed me time, more than anything. Time to work on my art because I wasn’t on this insane anxiety of the financial pressure of the city. So, the working is different. In Berlin you have to be quite self-motivated, because you can easily just go down a hole and not work, because of the lack of pressure to pay your bills. I still love Vancouver deeply and it’s where I’m from, but at the moment Berlin is where I call home.”
– Artist Jeremy Shaw, winner of the 2016 Sobey Award, in interview with Canadian Art magazine 1 Nov 2016
It was a mock proposal so realistic that, for a moment, Toronto collectively gasped – was Old City Hall really being turned into a condo? The artists behind the stunt, self-identified ‘urban interventionists’ known only as Glo’erm and Tuggy, intended to spark outrage when they erected a fake public notice last week. They wanted people to be angry – so angry that they started caring about how this city is developing.
“In the real estate frenzy this city is experiencing, it feels like nothing is too sacred not to be considered for development. Our faux proposals featuring Toronto’s most beloved buildings address our concern that the development proposal process in this city is broken. How many of us are meaningfully included in the shaping of Toronto?”
– Daniel Rotsztain
– from The Globe and Mail, 27 Oct 2016
Vancouver and London came first and second on the 2016 list of cities most at risk of real estate bubbles. Bubble risk was also evident in Stockholm, Sydney, Munich and Hong Kong: house prices in these six cities have increased by nearly 50% on average since 2011. The average price rise in other financial centers has been less than 15%.
Who is to blame for this latest global bubble? Why your friendly, local central banker of course.
As the WSJ summarizes, loose monetary policy at global central banks is a key driver behind rising prices, the report claims. Low interest rates have pushed investors to hunt for returns in tangible assets, “so it is hardly any wonder that housing markets are again overheating,” according to report authors Claudio Saputelli and Matthias Holzhey. …
Meanwhile, Vancouver house prices have been significantly overvalued since 2007, according to UBS. The culprit there is not so much the BOC as the PBOC: until recently Vancouver served as the primary offshore target for Chinese money launderers, which neither the financial crisis nor weakening commodity prices managed to dent. However, this bubble now appears to have finally burst after the provincial government of British Columbia introduced a 15% transfer tax on foreign home buyers in August, leading to a crash in the most expensive local housing segments.
– from Zerohedge, 27 Sep 2016
Vancouver RE, ‘Overvalued since 2007’. Care of weak monetary policy, and strong local narrative. – vreaa
“We need to recognize that living in a great place may just be more expensive than some people want it to be.” [6:30]
For this and lots of similar material, watch the Video from BNN 12 Sept 2016
The headline reminds us of Stevie Smith’s ‘Not Waving but Drowning‘. -vreaa
“A Vancouver accountant told The Globe that she and her colleagues see questionable real-estate transactions all the time, which they believe have contributed to skyrocketing prices. “This has become a huge mess. You have no idea how angry I am,” says Corina Ciortan. “A generation of people has been screwed. It’s so obvious. Everyone I work with is so angry because there is a select group of people who have profited from this.”
One of the Vancouver homes Mr. Gu flipped sat vacant for three years, in a city where many people can’t find a place to live.
Ottawa says it is studying the issue, and B.C. has brought in a tax on foreigners who buy residential real estate in Vancouver. But those who see firsthand how real estate is traded like stocks and bonds say this isn’t nearly enough. “We have governments that are not doing their job,” argues Mr. Lazos, who acquired his inside knowledge while working for Jun Gang Gu, also known as Kenny Gu, a former civil servant originally from Nanjing, near Shanghai.
Mr. Gu came to Canada in 2009 under Ottawa’s now-defunct immigrant-investor program, which gave permanent residency to applicants who agreed to lend a significant amount of money to the federal government. He started out here as a developer, but the documents show that his business evolved to buying homes – using other people’s money– and then flipping them. His deals are financed with investor money from China and mortgages issued to those investors by Canadian banks.
In addition to holes in the tax system, speculators like Mr. Gu also rely heavily on Canadian financial institutions to give their clients multimillion-dollar loans. “They are using this money temporarily – to make more money – instead of using their own money,” Mr. Lazos says. “Then prices go up. We are making the bank richer and the Canadians poorer.”
Mr. Lazos says that his whistle-blowing will be worth it only if it jolts Ottawa and B.C. into action. And his reasons, at least in part, lie close to home: “I hate the fact that for my daughter and my grandchildren, there is no way they can own a house in this city.”
– from ‘Out of the Shadows’, Kathy Tomlinson, G&M, 10 Sep 2016