11 Jun

RESIDENTIAL  MARKET UPDATE

General

Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

Industry & Market Highlights 

CMHC

Statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that national home sales increased in April with most markets recording increases in both transactions and prices.

The number of homes sold rose 3.6% compared with March, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The rebound in sales over the past two months still leaves activity slightly below readings posted over most of the second half of 2018, having dropped in February of this year to its lowest level since 2012.

April sales were up in about 60% of all local markets, with the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) accounting for over half of the national gain.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was up 4.2% year-over-year (y-o-y) in April (albeit from a seven-year low for the month in 2018), the first y-o-y gain since December 2017 and the largest in more than two years. The increase reflects improvements in the GTA and Montreal that outweighed declines in the B.C. Lower Mainland.

“Sales activity is stabilizing among Canada’s five most active urban housing markets,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “That list no longer includes Greater Vancouver, which fell out of the top-five list for the first time since the recession and is well into buyers’ market territory. Sales there are still trending lower as buyers adjust to a cocktail of housing affordability challenges, reduced access to financing due to the mortgage stress-test and housing policy changes implemented by British Columbia’s provincial government,” said Klump.

New Listings

The number of newly listed homes rose 2.7% in April, adding to the 3.4% increase in March. New supply rose in about 60% of all local markets, led by the GTA and Ottawa.

With sales up by more than new listings in April, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened marginally to 54.8% from 54.3% in March. This measure of market balance has remained close to its long-term average of 53.5% since early 2018.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, about three-quarters of all local markets were in balanced market territory in April 2019.

There were 5.3 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of April 2019, down from 5.6 and 5.5 months in February and March respectively and in line with the long-term average for this measure.

Housing market balance varies significantly by region. The number of months of inventory has swollen far beyond long-term averages in Prairie provinces and Newfoundland & Labrador, giving homebuyers their ample choice. By contrast, the measure remains well below long-term averages in Ontario and Maritime provinces, resulting in increased competition among buyers for listings and fertile ground for price gains.

Home Prices

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) appears to be stabilizing, having edged lower by 0.3% y-o-y in April 2019. Among benchmark property categories tracked by the index, apartment units were again the only one to post a y-o-y price gain in April 2019 (0.5%), while two-storey there was little change in single-family home and townhouse/row unit prices from April 2018 (-0.3% and -0.2%, respectively). By comparison, one-storey single-family home prices were down by -1.4% y-o-y.

Trends continue to vary widely among the 18 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI. Results remain mixed in British Columbia, with prices down on a y-o-y basis in Greater Vancouver (GVA; -8.5%) and the Fraser Valley (-4.6%), up slightly in the Okanagan Valley (1%) and Victoria (0.7%), while climbing 6.2% elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

Among Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets tracked by the index, MLS® HPI benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in the Niagara Region (6.2%), Guelph (5.1%), Hamilton-Burlington (4.6%) the GTA (3.2%) and Oakville-Milton (2.5%). By contrast, home prices in Barrie and District held below year-ago levels (-5.3%).

Across the Prairies, supply remains historically elevated relative to sales and home prices remain below year-ago levels. Benchmark prices were down by 4.6% in Calgary, 4% in Edmonton, 4.3% in Regina and 1.7% in Saskatoon. The home pricing environment will likely remain weak in these cities until demand and supply return to better balance.

Home prices rose 7.8% y-o-y in Ottawa (led by an 11% increase in townhouse/row unit prices), 6.3% in Greater Montreal (driven by a 7.8% increase in apartment unit prices), and 1.8% in Greater Moncton (led by an 11.5% increase in apartment unit prices).

Bottom Line:

The spring rebound in home sales is most evident in Toronto, where transactions climbed 11%, and prices rose 1.3%. Of 19 major markets tracked by the Ottawa-based real estate association, 16 recorded price gains last month.

One huge exception is Vancouver, which continues to soften. Benchmark home prices in that city were down 0.3% in April and have fallen 8.5% over the past 12 months. Even with the widespread rebound, national home sales are still below historical averages.

Economic fundamentals — from substantial employment gains to a sharp increase in immigration — remain supportive. Governor Poloz said earlier this week that he expects the housing markets to return to a more normal pace in the second half of this year. Benjamin Tal, the deputy chief economist at CIBC, reported yesterday that housing demand is stronger than suggested by official figures. Tal said incorrectly counting the number of students who live outside of their parents’ home for the majority of the year is problematic because it doesn’t provide a real sense of supply and demand in the country’s housing market.

Also supportive for housing is the dovish tilt globally from central banks that have helped bring down borrowing costs in recent months. Rates to renew a five-year mortgage aren’t much higher than they were when the mortgages were taken out, according to National Bank research. That means “no payment shock” for the 17.4% of mortgages renewing in 2019.  By Dr. Sherry Cooper.  Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres.

Dirty money in the real estate market  

Some startling numbers released last week show how deeply Vancouver real estate is influenced by money laundering.

A report prepared for the British Columbia government says about $7.4 billion was laundered through the province in 2018.  More than two-thirds of that money, about $5 billion, was used to buy real estate.

It is estimated that money laundering activity raised the benchmark price of a home in B.C. by an average of 5%.  Popular and high-priced markets like Victoria and Greater Vancouver likely felt even bigger impacts, but separate numbers were not provided.

The report by Maureen Maloney, a law professor who chairs B.C.’s expert panel on money laundering in real estate, says the problem is even worse in Alberta, Ontario and the Prairies.  It is estimated that more than $40 billion was laundered through Canada last year.

The B.C. government is taking aim at money laundering in real estate with the Land Owner Transparency Act.  The legislation would create a public real estate registry that would clearly show who owns what.  One estimate, from 2016, put one-third of the most expensive properties in the Vancouver region under the ownership of opaque entities such as numbered companies.

The Maloney report goes a step further though, recommending the province implement “unexplained wealth orders”.  These would force people to prove they made purchases with legitimate money or have their property seized.  The orders would not require criminal charges or even any evidence of criminal activity.  They have been roundly condemned by civil rights organizations.  By First National Financial.

BoC: Financial system is stable 

The Bank of Canada is maintaining its optimistic outlook for the country’s economy – but…

The central bank’s latest Financial System Review says two persistent problems remain and two others are on the rise.

High household debt and imbalances in the housing market continue to represent the greatest threats to the financial system, while the increasing chance of a recession and riskier corporate borrowing are adding to concerns.

The household debt-to-income level in Canada closed-out 2018 at nearly 180%.  That is $1.80 owing for every dollar of disposable income.  Canada’s corporate debt-to-income level now stands at 315%.  A growing amount of that borrowing is being done through the U.S. bond market and being paid in U.S. dollars.  Smaller firms and those with lower credit ratings are turning to the syndicated loan market, which could subject them to the changing whims of investors.

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz is more confident about what is happening in housing.

“New measures have curbed borrowing, reduced speculative behaviour in housing markets and made the financial system more resilient,” he said in the report.

“While the fundamentals in the housing sector remain solid overall, and the sector should return to growth later this year, we continue to monitor these vulnerabilities closely.”  By First National Financial. 

Creeping rate cut speculation

In the run up to this week’s rate setting by the Bank of Canada, talk of a coming rate cut is creeping into the forecast.

A recent Reuters poll of 40 economists put the chances of a cut, within the next 12 months, at 40%.  However, the same poll but the chances of a cut, within this year, at about 20%.

Many of the economists cite global trade uncertainties – which are stalling economic growth in Canada and other countries – as the key trigger for a possible 25 basis-point reduction.  Most of the concern centres on the current China – U.S. tensions and the potential for a recession in the States rather than domestic, Canadian, factors.

Realistically, it is unlikely there will be any interest rate movement – down or up – in Canada before 2020.  The BoC is calling for moderate GDP growth through the second half of this year.  As well, the politics surrounding the October federal election will keep the bank on the sidelines.

In a separate Reuters poll, property market gurus predict home prices will remain in the doldrums for the rest of 2019.  They are forecasting a little breeze next year that will push prices up by about 1.7%, which will barely meet the rate of inflation.  The Canadian Real Estate Association is forecasting a 1.6% decline in sales for this year, with a 2.0% increase in 2020.

The market-watchers polled by Reuters point to debt-burdened consumers as the key reason for the slowdown.  By First National Financial. 

Toronto is steadily becoming a sellers’ market – TREB analysis

Toronto is in a gradual trajectory towards being a sellers’ market, with home sales last month shooting up and supply remaining virtually static.

According to latest figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board, the city saw 9,989 home sales through the Board’s MLS System in May. This represented an 18.9% increase from the 15-year low for the month, which was seen last year.

TREB president Garry Bhaura emphasized, however, that last month’s numbers are still markedly below the long-term May average of 10,300, despite the tangible improvements from the glacial pace at the beginning of 2019.

“Sales activity continues to be below the longer-term norm, as potential home buyers come to terms with the OSFI mortgage stress test and the fact that listings continue to be constrained relative to sales,” Bhaura explained.

On the whole, the market is still seeing a positive trend, the Board head assured.

“After a sluggish start to 2019, the second quarter appears to be reflecting a positive shift in consumer sentiment toward ownership housing. Households continue to see ownership housing in the GTA as a quality long-term investment as population growth from immigration remains strong and the regional economy continues to create jobs across diversity of sectors.”

In comparison, listings ticked up by a mere 0.8%, ending up at 19,386 properties for sale. Intensified market competition pushed sales prices up by 3.6% annually, up to an average of $838,540. Said increases in value considerably outpaced the year-over-year gains seen in April (1.9%) and March (0.5%).

TREB warned that while the market can absorb single-digit annual price increases, continued scarcity in housing supply could aggravate price growth to unsustainable levels.

“This potential outcome underpins calls from TREB and other housing industry stakeholders to address roadblocks preventing a more sustainable and diverse supply of housing reaching the market,” the Board’s chief market analyst Jason Mercer stated.

“Many households are not comfortable listing their homes for sale because they feel that there are no housing options available to better meet their needs.”  By Ephraim Vecina.

Economic Highlights

Another Strong Employment Report Signals Rebound In Canadian Economy  

It appears that the Bank of Canada’s optimism that the Canadian economy’s growth will pick up in the third and fourth quarters of this year is well founded. Not only was the employment report very robust for two consecutive months, but the jobless rate has fallen to its lowest level since at least 1976.

Also, Canada’s trade deficit, reported today, hit a six-month low in April, as exports continue to rebound from a recent slump. Consumer spending and business investment are also making a big comeback. Household spending has accelerated, despite concerns over bloated debt loads, assisted by easing rates on loans, substantial jobs gains, stabilizing housing markets and improving financial markets.

The Bank of Canada forecasts that growth will accelerate to an annualized 1.3% in the second quarter–following the meagre 0.4% expansion in Q1–and pick up further in the second half of this year, before accelerating back to above 2% growth by 2020. This comeback begs the question–why were markets expecting a rate cut by the bank in December? That expectation may well change after this morning’s Statistics Canada releases. Of course, one caveat remains, which is the uncertainty surrounding a trade war with China and Mexico. If the trade situation were to worsen, Canada’s economy would undoubtedly be sideswiped.

Canadian employment rose by 27,700 in May, bring the number of jobs created over the past year to a whopping 453,100. The jobless rate plunged to 5.4%, from 5.7% in April, the lowest in data going back to 1976. Economists had been forecasting employment to rise by only 5,000 last month after Canada recorded a record gain of 106,500 in April. The loonie jumped on the news.

The composition of the job gain was particularly heartening, as the rise was all in full-time employment. On the other hand, jobs by those who are self-employed increased by 61,500–the gig economy is alive and well.

The most substantial job gains were in Ontario and BC.

Wage growth continued to be strong in May as pay gains for permanent workers sere steady at 2.6%.

In direct contrast, the US jobs report, also released today, was weaker than expected. US payrolls and wage gains cooled as Trump’s trade war weighed on the economy. US employers added the fewest workers in three months, and wage gains eased, suggesting broader economic weakness and boosting expectations for a Federal Reserve interest-rate cut as President Donald Trump’s trade policies weigh on growth.  

Mortgage Interest Rates

Prime lending rate is 3.95%.  Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying rate for mortgage approval remains at 5.34%.  Fixed rates have dropped between 10-15 basis points in the last two weeks.  Deep discounts are offered by some lenders for variable rates making adjustable variable rate mortgages somewhat attractive, but still not a significant enough spread between the fixed and variable to justify the risk for most.

Other Industry News & Insights

Roundup of the latest mortgage and housing news.

From Mortgage Professionals Canada.

There is never a better time than now for a free mortgage check-up.  It makes sense to revisit your mortgage and ensure it still meets your needs and performs optimally.  Perhaps you’ve been thinking about refinancing to consolidate debt, purchasing a rental or vacation property, or simply want to know you have the best deal?  Whatever your needs, we can evaluate your situation and help you determine what’s the right and best mortgage for you.

18 Jan

RESIDENTIAL MARKET UPDATE

General

Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

Industry & Market Highlights 
CMHC
The Bank of Canada left the overnight benchmark policy rate at 1-3/4%, as expected. In another dovish statement, the Bank of Canada acknowledged a slowdown in global economic activity and highlighted that oil prices are roughly 25% lower than what they had assumed in the October Monetary Policy Report (MPR). The lower prices primarily reflected sustained increases in U.S. oil supply and increased worries about global demand, especially in light of a potential U.S.-China trade war (see oil chart below).
The Bank also commented that these worries had been mirrored in bond and stock markets. Credit spreads off Treasuries have widened, and stock markets have sold off around the world (see chart below). Equity prices and bond yields have declined in the face of market unease over global growth. Volatility has risen, and corporate credit spreads have widened sharply. A tightening of corporate credit conditions is particularly evident in the North American energy sector reflecting the decline in oil prices.
Weak oil prices negatively impact the Canadian economic outlook and “transportation constraints and rising production have combined to push up oil inventories in the west and exert even more downward pressure on Canadian benchmark prices. While price differentials have narrowed in recent weeks following announced mandatory production cuts in Alberta, investment in Canada’s oil sector is projected to weaken further.”
The Bank acknowledged that the economy is running close to potential, unemployment is at a 40-year low and trade will likely improve with the weak dollar, the trade deal with Mexico and the U.S. (now dubbed “CUSMA”) and federal tax measures to target investment. Nevertheless, consumer spending and housing investment “have been weaker than expected as housing markets adjust to to municipal and provincial measures, changes to mortgage guidelines, and higher interest rates. Household spending will be dampened further by slow growth in oil-producing provinces.”
The contribution to average annual real economic growth from housing investment has been revised down to -0.1% this year from the +0.1% forecast in October.
The Bank of Canada revised down its forecast for real GDP growth in 2019 to 1.7%–0.4 percentage points lower than the October outlook. According to the Bank, “This will open up a modest amount of excess capacity, primarily in oil-producing regions. Nevertheless, indicators of demand should start to show renewed momentum in early 2019, leading to above-potential growth of 2.1% in 2020.”
Inflation remains close to 2%, the central bank’s target, having fallen to 1.7% in November, due to lower gasoline prices. While low gasoline prices will depress inflation this year, the weak Canadian dollar will have an offsetting impact on the CPI. On balance, the bank sees inflation returning to around 2% by late this year.
Considering all of these factors, the Governing Council continues to judge that the benchmark policy rate will need to rise over time to a neutral range to achieve the inflation target. “The appropriate pace of rate increases will depend on how the outlook evolves, with a particular focus on developments in oil markets, the Canadian housing market, and global trade policy.”
Bottom Line: The Bank of Canada for the first time admits in today’s MPR that the slowdown in the housing market has been more dramatic than the Bank’s staff had expected. The January MPR states, “provincial and municipal housing market policies, the tighter mortgage finance guidelines and higher mortgage rates continue to weigh on housing activity. Slowing of activity in some markets has been associated with less speculative activity. As a result, it is difficult to evaluate the sensitivity of non-speculative demand to the various policy changes. Monthly indicators have signalled that spending on housing likely contracted again in the fourth quarter. Weaker-than-expected housing activity in recent months and staff analysis suggest that the combined effect of tighter mortgage guidelines and higher interest rates has been larger than previously estimated. The Bank will continue to monitor developments in housing markets to assess how construction is adjusting to the shift in demand toward lower-value units.”
The Bank see less urgency to raise interest rates as the economy copes with slumping oil prices and weak housing markets. The five interest rate hikes since mid-2017 are having a more substantial impact on spending than the Bank expected. A short-term pause in rate hikes is now likely. The economy slowed considerably in the fourth quarter of last year, which will continue in the first quarter of this year owing to the decline in oil prices and the Alberta government’s implemented oil production cuts.
While it is unlikely that the Bank is finished its tightening this cycle, expect rates to remain steady until we see solid evidence of a rebound in the oil sector and in housing as interest-rate sensitivity of Canadians is at historical highs.
Real Estate Statistics for December 2018 London St. Thomas  
London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) announced 439 homes* were sold in December, up 2.1% over December 2017 and right on par with the 10-year average. The number of home resales for the year was 9,799, down 13.3% compared to 2017, which set a record year for residential real estate.
“One of the trends that stood out in December was the sales-to-new listings ratio, which was 108.1% across the region,” said Jeff Nethercott, 2018 LSTAR President. “It’s a statistic the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) says represents conditions in the marketplace that favour sellers (a ratio between 40% and 60% is generally consistent with a balanced market). In London, the sales-to-new listings ratio was 119.7%, while in St. Thomas it was 100.0%.”
December also saw average home sales price make steady gains in LSTAR’s jurisdiction. In London, the average sales price was $375,782, up 13.4% from last December, while it was $304,079 in St. Thomas, an increase of 0.7% from December 2017.
“Looking at specific areas, London South (which also includes data from the west side of the city) had an average sales price of $421,044 in December, up 16.2% compared to the same period last year and achieving its highest average sales price in the last 10 years,” Nethercott said. “In London North, the average sales price was $426,831, up 16.6% from December 2017, while in London East it was $284,100, up 7.0% compared to last December.”
“Overall, it was a very solid year for home resales in London and St. Thomas,” Nethercott said. “The activity in 2018 performed well above the 10-year average, despite the record low inventory levels seen in the marketplace the entire year. As we kick off 2019, I believe home sales will continue to be strong and be a driving force to the local economy.”
The following chart is based on data taken from the CREA National MLS® Report for November 2018 (the latest CREA statistics available). It provides a snapshot of how average home prices in London and St. Thomas compare to other major Ontario and Canadian centres.
By The London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR).
CMHC 
Statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that national home sales dipped for the fourth consecutive month, down 2.5% from November to December, capping the weakest annual sales since 2012. According to last week’s Bank of Canada Monetary Policy Report, housing activity in Canada has fallen by more than the Bank’s economists had expected owing to tighter mortgage-qualification restrictions and rising interest rates.
Monthly declines in home sales since September have fully reversed their summer rally and returned monthly sales to near their lowest level since early 2013.
Transactions declined in about 60% of all local markets in December, led by lower activity in Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Ottawa, London & St. Thomas, and Halifax-Dartmouth, together with a regionally diverse mix of other large and medium-sized urban centres.
On a not seasonally adjusted basis, actual activity was down 19% year-over-year in December 2018 and stood almost 12% below the ten-year average for the month. Sales were down from year-ago levels in three-quarters of all local markets, led overwhelmingly by the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the Okanagan Region, Calgary, Edmonton, the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton-Burlington. Sales had been boosted in December 2017 by homebuyers rushing to purchase before the new federal mortgage stress test took effect at the beginnng of this year.
The Bank of Canada forecasts that the housing market will remain soft this year, undermining economic growth as the mortgage stress test has rendered housing unaffordable for many potential homebuyers.
New Listings
The number of newly listed homes remained little changed (+0.2%) from November to December, with declines in close to half of all local markets offset by gains in the remainder.
With sales down and new listings steady in December, the national sales-to-new listings ratio eased to 53.3% compared to 54.8% in November. This measure of market balance has remained close to its long-term average of 53.5% since the beginning of 2018.
Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, about two-thirds of all local markets were in balanced market territory in December 2018.
There were 5.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of December 2018. While this remains close to its long-term average of 5.3 months, the number of months of inventory has swollen far above its long-term average in Prairie provinces as well as in Newfoundland & Labrador. By contrast, the measure remains well below its long-term average in Ontario and Prince Edward Island. In other provinces, sales and inventory are more balanced.
Home Prices
The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) was up 1.6% y/y in December 2018. The increase is smaller but still broadly in line with y/y gains posted since July.
Following a well-established pattern, condo apartment units posted the largest y/y price gains in December (+4.9%), followed by townhouse/row units (+3.1%). By comparison, two-storey single-family homes posted a small increase (+0.4%) while one-storey single-family home prices eased slightly (-0.3%).
Trends continue to vary widely among the 17 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI. Results were mixed in British Columbia. Prices are now down on a y/y basis in Greater Vancouver (-2.7%) but remain above year-ago levels in the Fraser Valley (+2.5%). Meanwhile, prices posted a y/y increase of 6.4% in Victoria and rose 11% elsewhere on Vancouver Island.
Among housing markets tracked by the index in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, MLS® HPI benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in Guelph (+6.8%), the Niagara Region (+6.8%), Hamilton-Burlington (+6.4%), Oakville-Milton (+3.3%) and the GTA (+3%). Home prices in Barrie and District remain slightly below year-ago levels (-1.1%).
Across the Prairies where supply is historically elevated relative to sales, benchmark home prices remained below year-ago levels in Calgary (-3.2%), Edmonton (-2%), Regina (-5.2%) and Saskatoon (-1.2%). The home pricing environment is likely to remain weak in these housing markets until elevated supply reflective of the weak oil market is reduced and becomes more balanced in relation to demand.
Home prices rose 6.9% y/y in Ottawa (led by an 8.3% increase in townhouse/row unit prices), 6% in Greater Montreal (driven by a 9.1% increase in townhouse/row unit prices) and 2.5% in Greater Moncton (led by a 12.2% increase in townhouse/row unit prices). (Table 1, unfortunately, CREA did not update the table with December data as of this writing).
Bottom Line
We are likely in store for a prolonged period of modest housing gains in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, stability or softening in British Columbia and further weakening in the Prairies, Alberta, and Newfoundland & Labrador.
Sluggish sales and modestly rising prices nationally are likely in store for 2019. While there will still be some significant regional divergences, there is no need for further policy actions to affect demand.
By Dr. Sherry Cooper.  Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Economic Highlights

 

Canadian Jobs Market Remains Tight in December, but Wage Growth Disappoints
Statistics Canada released its December Labour Force Survey this morning showing modest job gains and an unemployment rate that remains at a record-low 5.6%. The economy generated 9,300 net new jobs in December, a small increase following a record 94,100 jump in the prior month. However, December’s rise beat economists’ expectations of 5,500 jobs and a jobless rate of 5.7%. All of the tepid increase last month was in part-time and self-employment, a general sign of weakness. Full-time work fell in December for the first time in three months, and wages remained sluggish.
In December, employment rose in Newfoundland and Labrador, while it fell in Alberta, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. There was little change in net new jobs in other provinces.
Increases were recorded in manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, as well as in health care and social assistance. There were job losses in wholesale and retail trade, especially in Ontario.
For all of 2018, the economy added 163,300 jobs, all of them full-time, for a 0.9% rise representing a significant slowdown from the pace of job growth in 2017 when the economy was much stronger. In 2017, the economy grew at a 3% rate–the strongest in the G7–compared to only about 2% last year. Employment rose by an out-sized 427,300 in 2017 and has average annualized gains of 225,000 workers since 2010.
With the unemployment rate falling to its lowest level since comparable data collection began in January 1976, it is not surprising that labour shortages are emerging and businesses are having trouble filling job openings. What is surprising is the tepid pace of wage growth. Even with the very tight labour market, December’s wage growth reading was a weak 1.49% annual rate, well below the inflation rate (see chart below). Year-over-year average hourly wage growth for permanent workers was only 1.46%, decelerating steadily since its May peak of 3.9%.
In direct contrast, today’s release of nonfarm payroll data in the U.S. for December showed a stellar 312,000 job gain, and average hourly pay improved 3.2% from a year ago–well above the inflation rate–and up from average wage growth of 2.7% at the end of 2017.
December Housing Reports Show Plummeting Home Sales in 2018 in Toronto and Vancouver
In separate releases, the local real estate boards in Canada’s largest housing markets released data this week showing home sales fell to decade lows in 2018 reflecting rising interest rates and stricter mortgage rules.
Sales in the GTA fell 16% in 2018 while the average price declined 4.3%, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported today. That is the worst year for sales in Canada’s largest city since the financial crisis in 2008. In Vancouver, full-year sales fell 32%, the lowest since 2000 and 25% below the 10-year average. Prices in Vancouver for detached homes in some areas dropped at least 10%.
Sales in both cities dived in the first half of 2018 after the federal government imposed more stringent qualifying rules for mortgages. Vancouver sales continued to suffer even while Toronto began to recover in the second half, as the British Columbia government introduced more measures to deter speculation. The BC government in its 2018 budget increased the foreign buyers’ tax and added a speculation tax, which in addition to rising interest rates dampened sales, especially for more expensive single-family homes.
New listings were down in Toronto last month as homeowners have decided to stay put for now rather than attempting to cash out.  By Dr. Sherry Cooper. Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Mortgage Interest Rates
Prime lending rate is 3.95%.  Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying rate for mortgage approval remains at 5.34%.  Fixed rates are on hold.  A few lenders are brining out special promotional lower fixed rates to try and increase market share. Deep discounts are offered by some lenders for variable rates making adjustable variable rate mortgages very attractive.
Other Industry News & Insights
Roundup of the latest mortgage and housing news. 
From Mortgage Professionals Canada. 
There is never a better time than now for a free mortgage check-up.  It makes sense to revisit your mortgage and ensure it still meets your needs and performs optimally.  Perhaps you’ve been thinking about refinancing to consolidate debt, purchasing a rental or vacation property, or simply want to know you have the best deal?  Whatever your needs, we can evaluate your situation and help you determine what’s the right and best mortgage for you.
 
Adriaan Driessen
Mortgage Broker 
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
Lori Richards Kovac
Mortgage Agent & Administrator
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.852.7116
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
Adriaan Driessen
Sales Representative & Senior Partner
PC275 Realty Brokerage
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3

 

By Dr. Sherry Cooper. Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

24 Dec

Residential Market Update

General

Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

WEEKLY RESIDENTIAL  MARKET UPDATE 

Industry & Market Highlights 

Behind Us – Ahead of Us  

Thank you for a wonderful and crazy year.  It is a privilege to be part of your beautiful lives.  Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas holiday season and a prosperous new year!

End of the year is a great time to reflect on the year behind us, to consider our victories and our losses, and to plan for what lies ahead of us.  If have not yet set you business plan for 2019, now is the time.   If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Plan your success, and work your plan!

 

2018 Year in Review – The Year Everything Changed

Every year, somewhat controversial economist David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception.  It’s a long post and a very interesting read with loads of good information.  Read the full article here.  A downloadable pdf of the full article is available here.  He got one thing wrong with this statement: “We’re all doomed to burn in eternal hell, but I can only say that so many years in a row before it starts getting old.”  Here’s something way more important that he missed. The eternal lake of fire is reserved for those who oppose and reject their free gift or redemption and salvation of their eternal souls.  Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  The Roman Empire got the birth of Christ Jesus wrong when they incorporated Christ mass into traditional pagan festivals celebrated on December 25th.  His Actual birth is estimated to be in early April 4-6 BC based on historical accounts.  Reach out to me if you have questions about this.

 

A softened stance on future rates hikes

Back in October it was “clear sailing, all ahead full”.  Now the forecast is calling for headwinds and choppy seas and poor visibility.

When the Bank of Canada bumped its trend setting rate to 1.75% the economic statement spoke of full capacity, full employment, growing wages and rising inflation.  The Bank and market watchers were confident interest rates would continue their measured, upward march.

But that straight path has taken a turn, and in December the BoC did not move up, it stepped aside.

In the main, the central bank is being dictated by international developments.  Expanding trade disputes, obstructive tariffs and falling oil prices are weighing on the Canadian economy.  The uncertainty has led to a pull-back in business investment and projections for GDP growth have been reduced.

The Bank has shifted away from saying the economy is operating “at” capacity and is now being vaguer, saying the indicators show the economy is operating at “close” to capacity.  In the language of central bankers that is a very wide gap.

The Bank of Canada has also softened its stance on future rate hikes.  It had been saying rates would have to climb to their neutral level – neither stimulating nor retarding the economy.  Now it says rates will have to rise into the neutral range.  The Bank is not saying what that range is, only that we will know it when we see it.  Given the inflation forecast we may be much closer to that range than previously thought.  By First National Financial. 

 

No mandatory home energy audits  

Final nail in the coffin of mandatory home energy audits.   Mandatory home energy audits were a costly program proposed by the previous government that would have cost home sellers thousands of dollars in equity and punished REALTORS® – forcing you to post results of your clients’ energy audit on MLS® before you could list a property.

Premier Doug Ford announced at the Ontario REALTOR® Party Conference that the Ontario government has officially put an end to the program. He also called OREA a trusted advisor, complimented real estate professionals in general and sent a clear message that his Government values affordable home ownership for families across Ontario.

This is another big government relations win for REALTORS® that protects the dream of home ownership in Ontario!  By OREA Ontario Real Estate Association. 

 

Economic Highlights

 

CMHC  

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that national home sales dipped for the third consecutive month, down 2.3% from October to November and down a whopping 12.6% year-over-year. Transactions declined in just over half of all local markets, with lower activity in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA) and Hamilton-Burlington offsetting increased sales in Edmonton. Sales were down from year-ago levels in three-quarters of all local markets, including the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Calgary, the GTA and Hamilton-Burlington.

These data suggest a double-digit national sales decline in 2018, falling to its lowest level in five years even though the economy is reaching full employment. Next year’s growth in sales and prices will likely be moderated by recent policy changes from different levels of government, in addition to upward pressure on interest rates.

Many had expected a rebound in sales in British Columbia, but so far it has not materialized. The rebound in sales in Ontario last summer has now run its course and activity in Alberta has edged lower. Housing transactions in Quebec, in contrast, were strong.

New Listings

The number of newly listed homes fell by 3.3% between October and November, with new supply declining in roughly 70% of all local markets.

With new listings having declined by more than sales in November, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened slightly to 54.8% compared to 54.2% in October. This measure of market balance has remained close to its long-term average of 53.4% since the beginning of 2018.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, about 60% of all local markets were in balanced market territory in November 2018. There were 5.4 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of November 2018. While this remains in line with its long-term average of 5.3 months, the number of months of inventory is well above its long-term average in the Prairie provinces as well as in Newfoundland & Labrador. By contrast, the measure is well below its long-term average in Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. In other provinces, sales and inventory are more balanced.

Home Prices

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) was up 2.3% y/y in October 2018, down once again on a month-over-month basis.

Following a well-established pattern, condo apartment units posted the largest year-over-year price gains in November (+6%), followed by townhouse/row units (+4%). By comparison, one-storey single-family homes posted a modest increase (+0.4%) while two-storey single-family home prices held steady (+0.1%).

Trends continue to vary widely among the 17 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI. In British Columbia, home price gains have been steadily diminishing on a y/y basis in the Fraser Valley (+4.7%) and Victoria (+7.2%). By contrast, price gains picked up elsewhere on Vancouver Island (+12.6%) and, for the first time in five years, were down (-1.4%) from year-ago levels in the GVA. On a month-over-month basis, prices fell 1.9% in Greater Vancouver in November, the most since 2008, adding to the recent series of price declines in Canada’s most expensive housing market.

Among housing markets tracked by the index in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, MLS® HPI benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in Guelph (+9.3%), the Niagara Region (+7.2%), Hamilton-Burlington (+6.3%), Oakville-Milton (+3.4%) and the GTA (+2.7%). Meanwhile, home prices in Barrie and District remain below year-ago levels (-2.1%).

Across the Prairies, benchmark home prices remained below year-ago levels in Calgary (-2.9%), Edmonton (-1.9%), Regina (-4%) and Saskatoon (-0.3%). Excess supply of listings relative to demand will continue to put downward pressure on prices until economic activity in the region strengthens.

In contrast, home prices rose 6.6% y/y in Ottawa (led by a 7.3% increase in two-storey single-family home prices), 6.2% in Greater Montreal (driven by a 9.4% increase in townhouse/row unit prices) and 4.2% in Greater Moncton (led by an 11.2% increase in townhouse/row unit prices). (Table 1)

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in November 2018 was just over $488,000, down 2.9% from the same month last year.

Sales in Greater Vancouver and the GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive markets, bias upward heavily skew the national average price. Excluding these two markets from calculations cuts almost $110,000 from the national average price, trimming it to just over $378,000.

Bottom Line

We are likely in store for a prolonged period of modest housing gains in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, stability or softening in British Columbia and further weakening in the Prairies, Alberta, and Newfoundland & Labrador.

The Canadian housing market has slowed considerably since mid-2017 and is ending the year on a quiet note. Two offsetting forces are impacting housing—strong population growth and rising rates. Sluggish sales and modestly rising prices nationally are likely in store for 2019. While there will still be some significant regional divergences, there is no need for further policy actions to affect demand.  By Dr. Sherry Cooper.  Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres. 

 

Mortgage Interest Rates

Prime lending rate is 3.95%.  Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying rate for mortgage approval remains at 5.34%.  Fixed rates are on hold.  Deep discounts are offered by some lenders for variable rates making adjustable variable rate mortgages very attractive.

Other Industry News & Insights

Roundup of the latest mortgage and housing news.

From Mortgage Professionals Canada.

There is never a better time than now for a free mortgage check-up.  It makes sense to revisit your mortgage and ensure it still meets your needs and performs optimally.  Perhaps you’ve been thinking about refinancing to consolidate debt, purchasing a rental or vacation property, or simply want to know you have the best deal?  Whatever your needs, we can evaluate your situation and help you determine what’s the right and best mortgage for you.

Adriaan Driessen

Mortgage Broker 

Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671

Cell:     519.777.9374

Fax:      519.518.1081

riebro@me.com

www.iMortgageBroker.ca

415 Wharncliffe Road South

London, ON, N6J 2M3

Adriaan Driessen

Sales Representative & Senior Partner

PC275 Realty Brokerage

Cell:     519.777.9374

Fax:      519.518.1081

adriaan@pc275.com

www.PC275.com

415 Wharncliffe Road South

London, ON, N6J 2M3

12 Dec

RESIDENTIAL  MARKET UPDATE 

General

Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

Industry & Market Highlights 

Bank of Canada key interest rate announcement

The Bank of Canada left its key interest rate unchanged, as expected, at 1.75 per cent.

This announcement came in the wake of a move by the Alberta government to curtail oil production in the province after Jan. 1 to try to clear a crude storage glut that has driven western Canadian oil prices to multi-year lows.

Meanwhile, the recently announced plan to close the General Motors of Canada car plant in Oshawa similarly offers a downside risk to future growth.

Bank economists say an unexpected dip in monthly gross domestic product figures in September and lower-than-expected oil prices so far in the fourth quarter have dampened growth expectations and placed in doubt forecasts for a January bank rate increase.

Lower growth prospects are expected to reinforce Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s strategy of moving very gradually on increases to its overnight rate.

Economists say they will be closely watching Poloz’s speech on Thursday for signs of how events are affecting his view of the path forward.  By The Canadian Press.

  

LSTAR’s News Release for November 2018 – Strong Home Sales Continue in November 

London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) announced 746 homes* were sold in November, up 6.7% over November 2017. The number of home resales was the second highest total ever for November since LSTAR began tracking data in 1978. November 2016 holds the record with 749 home resales, only three more than November 2018.

“In November, we saw more positive signs with new listings in the marketplace, which contributed to the robust sales activity,” said Jeff Nethercott, 2018 LSTAR President. “November had 898 new listings, an increase of 17.5% over the same month last year. The area of London East continues to be making healthy gains in both new listings and average sales price. It had 192 new listings, up 24.7 % from November 2017, where the average sales price was $302,737, up 18.7% from 2017 and up 58.9% compared to five years ago. Going back further, that’s up 75.0% compared to 10 years ago.”

Average sales price also made steady gains in the major geographic areas in London. In London North, the average sales price was $482,202, up 24.4% from last November and up 62.4% compared to the same month five years ago. It’s an increase of 98.7% compared to the average sales price in 2008.

“Similar to October, we saw inventory (what is called active listings) making slight gains, despite the overall record low inventory that dominated our marketplace this year,” Nethercott said. “Last month, LSTAR’s jurisdiction had 1,391 active listings, up 7.6% from November 2017. The sales-to-new listings ratio was 83.1%, which the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) says represents conditions in the marketplace that favour sellers (a ratio between 40% and 60% is generally consistent with a balanced market). Looking at the major centres, St. Thomas had the highest sales-to-new listings ratio at 97.0%.”

A total of 65 homes were sold in November, up 10.2% from November 2017. The average home sales price in St. Thomas was $304,618 up 13.1% from a year ago and up 43.5% compared to five years ago. It’s also up 78.6% from 10 years ago.

The following chart is based on data taken from the CREA National MLS® Report for October 2018 (the latest CREA statistics available). It provides a snapshot of how average home prices in London and St. Thomas compare to other major Ontario and Canadian centres.

According to a research report1, one job is created for every three real estate transactions and approximately $53,000 in ancillary spending is generated each time a home changes hands in Ontario. “It’s turning out to be another exceptional year for real estate across London and St. Thomas,” Nethercott said. “The business of real estate touches every layer of our regional economy, with November resale activity generating potentially more than $39 million and helping create approximately 248 jobs. The impact to economic growth is priceless.”

The London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) exists to provide its REALTOR® Members with the support and tools they need to succeed in their profession. LSTAR is one of Canada’s 15 largest real estate associations, representing over 1,700 REALTORS® working in Middlesex and Elgin Counties, a trading area of 500,000 residents. LSTAR adheres to a Quality of Life philosophy, supporting growth that fosters economic vitality, provides housing opportunities, respects the environment and builds good communities and safe neighbourhoods and is a proud participant in the REALTORS Care Foundation’s Every REALTOR™ Campaign.

*These statistics are prepared for LSTAR by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and represent a data snapshot taken on December 1, 2018, based on processed home sales activity between November 1 and 30, 2018.

Predictions on a Cooling Down of the Real Estate Market 

For the first time since 2007 we are seeing an inverted Bond Yield Curve, and indicator that a potential bear market is ahead for stock markets and a cooling of other related markets.  Join Mike Maloney as he reveals an important factor of the partial Yield Curve inversion that is being ignored by mainstream news and media. Then stick around to the end of the video to see yet another indicator that is suggesting a huge change in markets could be upon us.  You can watch a full presentation by Mike Maloney HERE.

CMHC Announced that the cooling down of the Real Estate Market is finally here and predict that we will see house prices and mortgage rates moderate throughout 2019 into 2020.  Many economists have been claiming the prime rate increases (currently at 3.95%) are only cooling down the remainder of an extremely hot real estate housing market. Hopefully in London the pressure of having multiple offers are soon behind us.  Read more on CMHC Announcement HERE.

CIBC economist Benjamin Tal explains we are nearing comparable times to what the markets were like from 2007 to 2008 with the inverted bond. What does inverted bonds mean? This is where the 10 year fixed is almost side by side to the 5 year fixed. For example, today a 5 year conventional fixed rate is close to 3.94% and some banks have a 10 year special at 4.19% much like the fixed rates in 2007 where the 5 year was 5.65% and the 10 year fixed 5.75%. If you recall, in 2008 we saw the lower term products, 3-5 year fixed, quickly decrease.

In summary, CMHC and the economists say that everything is stabilizing and much like the past, we could even see some decreases on low term rates and also decreases to the prime rate and variable rate/Line of credit products.

Read Benjamin Tal’s market forecast HERE.

Economic Highlights

Canada’s Employment Numbers

Canada’s November employment numbers were stunning.  Economists had projected about 10,000 new jobs.  The economy created an amazing 94,000 jobs for the month, most of them full time.  The unemployment rate dropped to 5.6%, down 2 basis points from October and down 3 bps from a year ago.

Numbers like that usually set the stage for a lot of speculation about more interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada, but not this time.

Two key details suggest the economy is not as robust as the headline employment number might suggest.

1Youth participation in the work force is down

2Wage growth continues to slow

For October and November the number of young people, aged 15 to 24, who wanted to work and who were employed sat at 62.5%.  That is the lowest level since 1998.  It is an indication that employers are not having any trouble finding the older, experienced help they want, suggesting there is still slack in the economy and labour pool.

Hourly wage growth, which is a key driver of inflation – which is, in turn, a key trigger for interest rate increases – came in at just 1.7% in November, compared to a year ago; the 6th straight monthly decline for wage growth.  It indicates the labour market is weaker than it appears and employers are not being compelled to raise wages to attract workers.

Then there is what the Bank of Canada, itself, is saying.  While the language used by central bankers can be downright cryptic, once you decipher what is in the economic statement that came with the latest interest rate decision it sounds a lot like “we’re just going to keep an eye on this for the time being.”  By First National Financial.

Bank of Canada’s Dovish Tone  

As was universally expected, the Bank of Canada’s Governing Council held overnight interest rates steady at 1-3/4% as it heralded a weaker outlook for the Canadian economy. The dovish tone in today’s Bank of Canada statement is in direct contrast to its attitude when it last met on October 24. Since that time, the global economy has moderated, and oil prices have fallen sharply. Troubling prospects for Alberta’s energy sector have weighed on the economy as the U.S. has expanded shale oil production. Benchmark prices for “western Canadian oil–both heavy and, more recently, light–have been pulled down even further by transportation constraints and a buildup of inventories”. The Notley government in Alberta ordered production cuts this week leading the Bank to conclude that Canada’s energy sector will be “materially weaker” than expected.

The Canadian economy grew at a 2% annual rate in the third quarter, mainly in line with the Bank’s expectation, however, September data suggest significantly less momentum going into Q4. The biggest disappointment was the plunge in business investment, which likely reflected trade uncertainty (see chart below). Business investment outside of the oil sector is likely to improve with the signing of the new trade agreement USMCA, the new federal tax measures to improve capital depreciation write-offs, and ongoing capacity constraints.

Household credit appears to be stabilizing following a significant slowdown in recent months. However, the rise in interest rates this year has had a more substantial impact on credit-sensitive spending than many had expected. For example, plunging car sales add to evidence that higher borrowing costs are dampening economic activity possibly to a more significant extent than the central bank expected. Light vehicle sales dropped 9.4% in November, the most since 2009. As well, Bank of Canada data show growth in residential mortgages decelerated to 1.4% in September on an annualized three-month basis, the weakest pace since 1982.

The Bank has raised borrowing costs five times since July 2017. New home building declined for the third consecutive quarter, down an annualized 5.9% in Q3. Moreover, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), Toronto’s housing market posted its biggest monthly sales decline since March while prices remained little changed. Sales in Canada’s largest city fell 3.4% in November from the previous month TREB reported today (see chart below).

The housing market in the Toronto region has been stabilizing after a slowdown in sales and prices earlier this year amid more stringent mortgage-lending rules. The market picked up its pace through the summer, though sales have declined for the third month in a row.

The drop in sales could in part be attributed to a decline in new listings, which fell 26% year-over-year. “New listings were actually down more than sales on a year-over-year basis in November,” Garry Bhaura, the president of the board, said in a statement. “This suggests that, in many neighbourhoods, competition between buyers may have increased. Relatively tight market conditions over the past few months have provided the foundation for renewed price growth.”

Here is a sampling of other factors that highlight some of the headwinds confronting the Canadian economy:

Economic data have been coming in below expectations according to Citibank’s Surprise Index, which tracks the difference between market expectations for economic indicators and their actual values. This index has trended downward since last summer and has been below zero since mid-October–around the time of the Bank of Canada’s last Monetary Policy Report (MPR) and the most recent rate hike.

The Macdonald Laurier Institute’s Leading Indicator fell 0.1% in October. The composite gauge’s first decline since January 2016 was primarily driven by a pullback in S&P/TSX Composite Index, which fell 6.5% on the month, as well as marked decreases in commodity prices.

As well, inflation pressures have diminished. For example, gasoline prices have tumbled by about 25 Canadian cents back toward a dollar a litre since October. The latest policy statement says, “CPI inflation, at 2.4% in October, is just above target but is expected to ease in coming months by more than the Bank had previously forecast, due to lower gasoline prices. Downward historical revisions by Statistics Canada to GDP, together with recent macroeconomic developments, indicate there may be additional room for non-inflationary growth. The Bank will reassess all of these factors in its new projection for the January MPR.”

Bottom Line: “Governing Council continues to judge that the policy interest rate will need to rise into a neutral range to achieve the inflation target,” the bank said in the statement, adding the appropriate pace of increases will depend on the “effect of higher interest rates on consumption and housing, and global trade policy developments.”

“The persistence of the oil price shock, the evolution of business investment, and the Bank’s assessment of the economy’s capacity will also factor importantly into our decisions about the future stance of monetary policy,” the bank said.

As recently as October, investors were expecting at least three more rate hikes in 2019. Currently, those expectations have lessened to no more than two. The Bank had previously estimated the “neutral” range for overnight rates at between 2.5% and 3.5%. Today’s more dovish statement might well indicate that rate hikes over the next year will be to levels well below this neutral range.  By Dr. Sherry Cooper.  Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres.

Mortgage Interest Rates

Prime lending rate is 3.95%.  Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying rate for mortgage approval remains at 5.34%.  Fixed rates are on hold.  Deep discounts are offered by some lenders for variable rates making adjustable variable rate mortgages very attractive.

This edition of the Weekly Rate Minder shows the latest rates available for Canadian mortgages. At Dominion Lending Centres, we work on your behalf to find the best possible mortgage to suit your needs.

Explore mortgage scenarios using helpful calculators on my website: http://www.iMortgageBroker.ca

Other Industry News & Insights

Roundup of the latest mortgage and housing news.

From Mortgage Professionals Canada.

Canada’s new construction housing market could be hit a wall, thanks to higher interest rates: TD (Livabl)

The Ford government wants to develop the Ontario Greenbelt. Here’s why one expert thinks that’s a bad idea (Livabl)

Consumer Insolvency Filings Spike In Canada, And It’s Likely Just The Beginning (Huffington Post)

Here’s how the final quarter of 2018 is shaping up for the Canadian housing market (Livabl)

Will changes to rent control mean more Toronto rental buildings? This expert says probably not (Livabl)

Not too hot, not too cold: Vancouver’s new home market to remain stable in 2019 (Livabl)

A ‘grey tsunami’ and the precariousness of aging for Vancouver renters (Vancouver Sun)

These Canadian Housing Markets Took A Beating In 2018. What Does 2019 Have In Store? (Huffington Post)

Once on top, the Canadian housing market has fallen to the bottom of this global price ranking (Livabl)

New data shows how active foreign-homebuyers are in Metro Vancouver after big policy changes (Livabl)

How migration impacts Vancouver’s housing prices (Vancouver Sun)

The next Canadian interest rate hike may have just been pushed back all the way to next spring (Livabl)

Bank of Canada holds key interest rate steady at 1.75% (CBC)

Investors have little to fear of a housing meltdown (Canadian Real Estate Wealth)

Here’s how Canadian household debt levels could affect the housing market in 2019 (Livabl)

Vancouver real estate: sales and prices down to more ‘historical’ levels, says board (Vancouver Sun)

Toronto home prices stable in November amid sharp drop in listings (BNN Bloomberg)

There is never a better time than now for a free mortgage check-up.  It makes sense to revisit your mortgage and ensure it still meets your needs and performs optimally.  Perhaps you’ve been thinking about refinancing to consolidate debt, purchasing a rental or vacation property, or simply want to know you have the best deal?  Whatever your needs, we can evaluate your situation and help you determine what’s the right and best mortgage for you.

Adriaan Driessen
Mortgage Broker
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
riebro@me.com
www.iMortgageBroker.ca
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3

Lori Richards Kovac
Mortgage Agent & Administrator
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.852.7116
Fax:      519.518.1081
loriakovac@icloud.com
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3

Adriaan Driessen
Sales Representative & Senior Partner
PC275 Realty Brokerage
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
adriaan@pc275.com
www.PC275.com
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3

4 Dec

Residential Market Update

General

Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

WEEKLY RESIDENTIAL  MARKET UPDATE 

Industry & Market Highlights 

CMHC forecasts higher rates, slower housing

The conditions are right for further interest rate increases and that will blunt home sales and slow price acceleration.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation predicts the economy will continue to grow at a moderate pace well into next year.  The housing agency expects that will keep pressure on the Bank of Canada to raise rates which will, in turn, increase the debt service costs for mortgages and other borrowing.

CMHC says households will likely be forced to put a larger portion of their income into debt service payments.  The agency expects wage gains – which have not been keeping pace with economic growth – will also not keep pace with increasing debt costs and consumer spending will contract.

Combined with tougher borrowing rules, tighter money for consumers will be reflected in a drop in demand for housing, with a consequent softening of real estate prices.

The CMHC report covers the period from July through September of this year.  It predates the signing of the new NAFTA deal, the collapse of Canadian oil prices and the announcement that General Motors is closing its largest Canadian manufacturing operation.

The Bank of Canada is not expected to raise its benchmark interest rate at its setting later this week.  By First National Financial.

Mortgage Professionals Canada – Housing Market Digest – Rental Market in Canada – Fall 2018

Published annually, CMHC provides a comprehensive review of rental markets across Canada, through their Rental Market Report. Over the past year, a number of factors have caused demand for rental housing to rise and outpace supply.

Mortgage Professionals Canada Chief Economist, Will Dunning has summarized the data in a special Housing Market Digest which provides a condensed, yet detailed overview. Read the Report Here.

BoC takes a holiday from rate increases

The Bank of Canada gets one more chance to raise interest rates before the end of the year but market watchers are betting against a Christmas increase.

The October inflation numbers, which came in above expectations, would normally be seen as green light for the Bank to go ahead with another quarter-point increase.  Headline inflation for October came in at 2.4%, with analysts having called for a flat reading of 2.2%.

However, core inflation – which is what the central bank really cares about – came in pretty much on target, at 2%, across all three of the measurements used by the Bank.  The core inflation calculations strip out volatile items like food and fuel to give a truer picture of the underlying economy.

In an example of how interrelated the components of our economy are, market watchers – and the BoC – are also keeping a very close eye of the price of oil.  Canada’s benchmark crude price has been taking a serious hit lately, selling at less than US$20 a barrel (U.S. benchmark crude is selling for more than US$40 a barrel.)

The plunge in oil prices is expected to take a significant bite out of November’s inflation numbers and the Bank of Canada is expected to wait for better stability in the market before imposing any more rate increases.

Look to January for the next move.  By First National Financial.

Lower prices, fewer sales, more building  

Canada’s housing market seemed to be heading in two different directions at once in October.  While prices and sales declined, starts increased.

The latest numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association show a 3.7% drop in sales compared to a year ago, with a 1.6% decline from September to October.  The association says the Greater Vancouver Area and Fraser Valley led the slide which offset sales increases in the Greater Toronto Area and Montreal.

CREA also reports a 1.1% drop in the number of new listings between September and October.  The sales-to-new-listings ratio sits at 54.2% for October which is in line with the long term average and is deemed to be in “balanced” territory.  At the same time there has been an unexpected surge in the number of housing starts.

The October report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows a seasonally adjusted annual increase of 8.5% over September, topping analysts’ estimates.  The increase was led by urban starts in multi-unit construction.  Single-detached urban starts fell nearly 11%.

CREA’s MLS Home Price Index shows a 2.3% increase from a year ago while the national average price of a home in Canada actually fell 1.5% over the same period to just under $497,000.  That number is heavily skewed by pricing in Vancouver and Toronto.  With those markets taken out of the calculation the price comes in at just under $383,000 – up from about $335,000 in September.

The Teranet Home Price Index shows an October decline of 0.4% compared to September.  It is the first index decline in eight months, and just the fourth time in 20-years there has been a drop in October.  Year-over-year the index rose 2.8%.  That number is more pronounced than usual because of an abrupt drop in the index a year ago.  By First National Financial. 

Mortgage Update - Mortgage Broker London

Mortgage Update – Mortgage Broker London

Economic Highlights

Q3 Canadian GDP Growth Slowed On The Back of Weak Housing and Business Investment

Stats Canada released the third quarter GDP figures indicating an expected slowdown to 2.0% growth (all figures quoted in annual rates), compared to a 2.9% pace in Q2. Over the first three quarters of this year, quarterly growth has averaged 2.2% which is down from the 3.0% annual growth recorded in 2017. The Canadian economy is at or near full capacity, so slower growth is not a bad thing.

However, while the headline growth of 2.0% was on trend, the details of the report are troubling. The bulk of the growth last quarter came from a contraction in imports–hardly a sign of a robust economy–leaving final domestic demand–which excludes trade–negative for the first time since early 2016. The softness in imports reflected a contraction in refined energy products as well as aircraft and other transportation equipment.

The NAFTA trade battle over the summer took its toll on the economy as households and businesses sharply curtailed their spending. Consumer spending grew at its slowest pace in more than two years, while businesses posted an unexpected drop in investment and trimmed inventories. Consumer spending moderated, as overall household consumption rose just 1.2%, held back by durable goods spending (-2.7%) as Canadians bought fewer vehicles for a third straight quarter.

The biggest surprise in the report was the sharp decline in non-residential business investment (-7.1%). Spending on non-residential structures fell 5.2%, while machinery and equipment spending, which includes computer software and hardware, plunged at a 9.8% annual rate. Business spending was weighed down by softer oil and gas investment.

Though residential investment was expected to decline, the reported 5.9% drop in Q3 was more significant than expected. Despite an uptick in home sales activity, residential investment weakened as both new construction of housing and renovation activity pulled back (see Note below). Investment in new residential construction posted its largest decline since the second quarter of 2009 when the financial crisis was hammering the global economy. The uptick in home sales was reflected in a sharp uptick in ownership transfer costs, which includes real estate commissions, land transfer taxes, legal fees and file review costs (inspection and surveying).

On the income side, compensation of employees rose 2.7% (4.0% on a year-on-year basis), leaving overall wage gains over the quarter at a modest 2.2% year-on-year. The household savings rate rose to 4.0% from an upwardly revised 3.4% in Q1.

Looking at the monthly data for September, there was not much momentum going into the final quarter of this year. Monthly GDP in September declined -0.1% as just half of major industries expanded. It was mainly down in goods production (-0.7%) as oil and gas extraction pulled back, hit in part by maintenance work. Substantial gains in services (+0.2%) were not enough to keep the headline in positive territory.

The projected further weakening in Q4 will be abetted by the transitory downward impact from the recent postal strike. The risks are on the downside for the Bank of Canada’s forecast of 2.3% growth in the final quarter of this year. Currently, it appears that growth in Q4 will be closer to 1% than 2%.

Implications for the Bank of Canada

The headline 2% growth rate was spot on the Bank of Canada’s expectation, but certainly, the Bank will note the weakness in the underlying data. Potentially more important is the deep reduction in the price of oil for Canadian producers already struggling with transportation bottlenecks that have been pummelling the energy sector and depressing growth in Alberta. Cuts in oil production are likely to hit economic activity in the current quarter, with a full recovery not expected until at least mid-2019.

As well, the GM shutdown in Oshawa, Ontario raises concerns about the viability of the Canadian auto industry and adds to the weakness in the economic outlook. The two largest export sectors in Canada are energy and autos, so weakness in these sectors will keep the Bank of Canada on the sidelines in December, notably as consumers may well be tapped out. Markets had been expecting a rate hike in January, but the latest data suggest that the prospects of such a move have dropped significantly.

Notes:

*Housing investment in the GDP accounts is technically called “Gross fixed capital formation in residential structures”. It includes three major elements:

  • new residential construction;
  • renovations; and
  • ownership transfer costs.

New residential construction is the most significant component. Renovations to existing residential structures are the second largest element of housing investment. Ownership transfer costs include all costs associated with the transfer of a residential asset from one owner to another. These costs are as follows:

  • real estate commissions;
  • land transfer taxes;
  • legal costs (fees paid to notaries, surveyors, experts, etc.); and
  • file review costs (inspection and surveying).

By Dr. Sherry Cooper.  Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

Mortgage Interest Rates

Prime lending rate increased to 3.95%.  Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying rate for mortgage approval remains at 5.34%.  Fixed rates are slowly increasing.  Deep discounts are offered by some lenders for variable rates making adjustable variable rate mortgages very attractive.

Other Industry News & Insights

$1 billion money laundered by crime networks in BC real estate? 

Criminal networks could have used British Columbia’s real estate market for more than $1 billion of money laundering.

A secret police report, obtained by Global News, reveals that crime networks are linked to 10% of the 1,200 luxury real estate purchases in the Lower Mainland included in a police study in 2016.

These include a $17 million Shaughnessy mansion owned by a suspected importer of the potent drug Fentanyl.

Of around 120 properties linked to crime, 95% are believed to have Chinese crime network origins.

Global News own analysis says that the crime networks may have laundered more than $5 billion in Vancouver-area homes since 2012.

The extent of the money laundering issue and the findings of the police study are discussed on the Simi Sara Show from 980 CKNW.  By Steve Randall.

Roundup of the latest mortgage and housing news.

From Mortgage Professionals Canada.

There is never a better time than now for a free mortgage check-up.  It makes sense to revisit your mortgage and ensure it still meets your needs and performs optimally.  Perhaps you’ve been thinking about refinancing to consolidate debt, purchasing a rental or vacation property, or simply want to know you have the best deal?  Whatever your needs, we can evaluate your situation and help you determine what’s the right and best mortgage for you.

Adriaan Driessen
Mortgage Broker 
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
Lori Richards Kovac
Mortgage Agent & Administrator
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.852.7116
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
Adriaan Driessen
Sales Representative & Senior Partner
PC275 Realty Brokerage
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
22 Aug

WEEKLY RESIDENTIAL MARKET UPDATE

General

Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

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Industry & Market Highlights 
Market improvements as expected
Improvements in the housing market that were forecast for the second half of this year appear to be materializing.
The July numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association show a sales increase of 1.9% in July over June.  June was up more than 4% from May.  Year-over-year, however, July sales were off 1.3%, pulled down by fewer sales in major urban centres in British Columbia.  The decline in B.C. was offset by increases in the Greater Toronto Area, which saw an 18.6% jump from a year ago.
Home prices were down compared to June, but up modestly from a year ago.  The MLS Home Price Index recorded a 2.1% increase while the national average price was up by 1%.  Condominium apartments and townhouses led the way with increases of 10.1% and 4.7% respectively.  One and two-storey single family homes saw price declines of 0.7% and 1.5% respectively.
The average price for a home in Canada stands at $481,500.  With Toronto and Vancouver taken out, the average drops to $383,000.
In the GTA home prices dipped 0.6%.  In B.C. price increases slowed but still posted remarkable gains well into the double digits in some areas. (GVA: +6.7%; Fraser Valley: +13.8%; Victoria: 8.2%; elsewhere on Vancouver Island: +13.7%)
Calgary and Edmonton recorded small year-over-year declines of 1.7% and 1.3%.  Montreal posted a moderate increase of 5.7%.
The number of new listings was down by 1.2% putting the sales-to-new listings ratio at 55.9%.  The ratio’s long-term average is 53.4%.  By First National Financial.
Stats indicate adjustment to B-20
Real estate sales in Canada are trending upward and it’s likely an indication that consumers have come to grips with B-20.
Canadian Real Estate Association sales statistics for July show  national home sales rose 1.9% over the previous month—and according to REMAX’s regional executive vice president, that means buyers have finally adjusted to stricter qualification rules.
“It certainly looks like consumers are slowly becoming accustomed to the B-20 mortgage qualification guidelines,” said Elton Ash. “It’s occurring a little later than we thought, and that seems to be the reason why inventory levels are dropping in the Toronto area.”
While a tough pill to swallow for many, Canadians are realizing that in order to become homeowners, they’ll have to settle for less house.
“What’s occurring is they’re readjusting their expectations,” he said. “In other words, where they may have qualified previously to purchase an $850,000 home, they’re now looking at a $750,000 home. It’s not that they’re seeking secondary financing—because the only lenders not bound by B-20 are credit unions and private lenders—it’s reducing their overall expectations of what they can afford in the type of home they’re looking for.”
The real estate market, it would appear, has finally balanced, and Ash expects that to last through the first quarter of 2019. He added that last year’s record sales volume and price increases were an anomaly that people should be cognizant about before making drawing comparisons.
“When you measure against a record-setting year on a year-over-year basis, what appears to be negative is actually positive,” said Ash. “The whole B-20 mortgage qualification stress test was brought in to slow the market, and that is certainly what’s occurring, and what we’re getting into is more traditional market situation where it’s balanced overall. The days on market for homes are stretching out to what they were, and multiple offer situations have disappeared across the board, although in Toronto proper they occur in certain situations.”  By Neil Sharma.
CMHC introduces enhancements that provide flexibility for self-employed borrowers effective Oct. 1, 2018
I’m sure you’ve heard by now the CMHC has made some changes to how self-employed Canadians can access financing. The CMHC have kindly provided some details on the new guidelines: 
Approximately 15% of Canadians are self-employed and may have difficulty accessing financing to buy a home, since their income sources may vary or be less predictable than employed borrowers. In line with the National Housing Strategy commitment to address the housing needs of Canadians along the housing continuum, CMHC is pleased to introduce enhancements that provide increased flexibility for satisfying income and employment requirements for self-employed borrowers.
 
The following table outlines enhancements to CMHC’s guidelines, which apply to transactional and portfolio insurance (1-4 unit residential properties):  Review it HERE.
The noted enhancements to CMHC’s guidelines for satisfying income and employment requirements for self-employed borrowers will become effective on October 1, 2018.
Please note that the establishment of these CMHC guidelines does not preclude Approved Lenders from observing their own lending practices.  As such, implementation of CMHC guidelines may vary among lenders.  By Dave Teixeira, Dominion Lending Centres.
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Economic Highlights

 

Canadian Data Release: Existing home sales rose for 3rd straight month in July
·       Existing home sales rose 1.9% month-on-month in July, marking the third straight monthly gain. However, sales were downwardly revised in June to show 3.4% growth (previously 4.1%). More than half of all local markets reported increased activity in July, led by a solid 7.7% gain in the GTA. Sales also rose in Saskatoon (+12.3%), Ottawa (+1.4%), London (+2.5%), Hamilton-Burlington (+2.3%), Fraser Valley (+5.6%) and Victoria (+1.5%). Conversely, activity was lower in Calgary (-3.5%) and Winnipeg (-3.2%) while being flat in the GVA.
·       New listings dropped by 1.2% in July, weighed on by declines in Calgary (-8.0%), Edmonton (-7.2%) and the GVA (-4.4%). Meanwhile, listings advanced 5.1% in the GTA.
·       With new listings dropping and sales rising, the sales-to-new listings ratio increased to 55.9 in July – still reflective of balanced market conditions though inching closer to seller’s territory. Provincially, the ratio was highest in New Brunswick (71.3), PEI (66.7) and Quebec (62.4). Conversely, the ratio was lowest in Saskatchewan (39.2), Alberta (45.6) and Newfoundland and Labrador (33.0) – indicating loose conditions in these markets. In Ontario, the ratio increased to 59.7, its highest level since January.  The ratio also increased to 52.3 in B.C., though it still sits below its 10-year average.
·       The average home price rose for the fourth straight month in July (+1.0%) and was flat on a year-over-year basis – an improvement compared to the 1.3% year-over-year drop recorded in June. 
·       The quality-adjusted MLS home price index was up 2.1% from a year-ago – also an improvement versus June’s 0.9% gain. Quality-adjusted prices were higher in most markets, with exception of the Prairies. Price growth was robust in Ottawa (7.2% y/y) and Montreal (5.7%). Prices were slightly lower in the GTA (-0.6% y/y), though this was a notable improvement from June (-4.8% y/y). In the GVA, price growth decelerated to its softest pace since 2014 (6.7% y/y).
Key Implications
·       July’s was a good month for housing markets, as sales increased for the third straight month alongside another rise in prices. This lends further credence to our view that markets have shaken off the bout of policy-induced weakness in the earlier part of the year.
·       Since April, sales have increased in 7 of 10 Provinces, with sharp gains in Ontario and New Brunswick. However, activity remains notably weak in B.C., where markets are being impacted by provincial policy measures in addition to the revised B-20 underwriting guidelines and rising borrowing costs. The imposition of a new housing speculation tax should place additional downward pressure on markets in B.C. in coming months.     
·       We expect Canadian resale activity to improve at a gradual pace going forward, buoyed by a decent economic backdrop and solid population growth, though some restraint should come from rising borrowing costs. This should help residential investment add to overall growth in the second half of the year.   By Rishi Sondhi, TD Economist.
United States
·        Concerns about Turkey drove market volatility this week, but U.S. equity markets managed a rebound.
·        Strong retail sales and historically-high small business optimism suggest a strong economic expansion in the U.S. this quarter.
·        Although concerns eased by week’s end, Turkey is not out of the woods yet. It remains in the early stages of a balance of payments crisis, and is likely to trigger further bouts of market volatility.
Canada
·        Canadian economic data continued to impress this week. A solid resale housing report, respectable manufacturing numbers and surprisingly strong inflation all paint a picture of a healthy economy.
·        Of particular note, home sales rose for a third straight month, as did average sale prices. Evidence continues to mount that, as expected, the impact of cooling measures early in the year have been short-lived, even if there remains lots of lost ground left for sales to make up.
·        Economic risks remain very real, but continued solid out-turns suggest that the next policy interest rate hike is not that far off.
By TD Economics.  Read the full report Here.
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Mortgage Interest Rates
Prime lending rate is 3.7%.  Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying rate for mortgage approval is at 5.34%.  Fixed rates are holding steady, no change in fixed rates.  Deep discounts are offered by some lenders for variable rates making adjustable variable rate mortgages very attractive.
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Terms
Posted
Rates
Payment
  Per $100k
Our Rates
Payment
  Per $100k
Savings
6 Months
3.14%
$480.46
3.10%
$478.39
$2.07
1 Year
3.04%
$475.30
2.99%
$472.73
$2.57
2 Years
3.44%
$496.11
3.24%
$485.65
$10.46
3 Years
3.59%
$504.03
3.39%
$493.48
$10.55
4 Years
3.89%
$520.07
3.54%
$501.38
$18.69
5 Years
5.59%
$615.64
3.29%
$488.25
$127.39
7 Years
5.80%
$627.97
3.94%
$522.77
$105.19
10 Years
6.10%
$645.76
3.99%
$525.48
$120.28
Variable
2.70%
$457.99
2.41%
$443.50
$14.49
Prime Rate
3.70%
Please Note: Payment per $100K and possible savings shown above are based on a 25-year ammortization. Rates are subject to change without notice and the rate you receive may vary depending on your personal financial situation. *OAC E&OE. Please reply to this email and I will be happy to provide you with greater detail and determine the best rate available for you.
This edition of the Weekly Rate Minder shows the latest rates available for Canadian mortgages. At Dominion Lending Centres, we work on your behalf to find the best possible mortgage to suit your needs.
Explore mortgage scenarios using helpful calculators on my website: http://www.iMortgageBroker.ca
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Other Industry News & Insights
Why were so many borrowers renewing with the same lender last year?
According to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation analysis, mortgage renewals with different lenders in Toronto declined dramatically in 2017 compared to the year before.
Tania Bourassa-Ochoa, a senior economic researcher with CMHC, theorizes that the 25.7% decline can be attributed to the B-20 rule changes in 2016.
“One of the reasons that could partially explain this is the mortgage rule changes in 2016,” Bourassa-Ochoa told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “There was the stress test mortgages had to go through, but the problem is we’re not able to confirm this because we’re unable to observe the number of renewals with the same lenders. It’s hard to know if it’s really because of that.
“When you look at all of the major markets and you see the two most expensive markets in Toronto and Vancouver, that’s where the largest declines of renewals with different lenders was observed.”
While it is difficult to discount the role stress testing mortgages play in cooling activity—as well as the fact that lenders aren’t competitive with renewal rates to begin with—there could be another explanation for why so many borrowers decided to remain with their lenders.
“Historically speaking, lenders aren’t that competitive on renewal, especially if you look at 2016 to 2017 when they would come out with a subpar rate at best,” said Benjamin Sammut, a Mortgage Architectsbroker. “The only thing I can think of is they’re upping their game and starting to be a little more competitive in what they’re offering in terms of rate, and they’re probably contacting their clients a little earlier. What used to be 90 days out has turned into a 180 days out. We’ve even heard of instances where clients are being told a year in advance that they could do an early renewal.”
The decline in renewals with different lenders is confounding, though, because lenders don’t incent borrowers to stay with them.
“If they’re incentivized somewhere else and they can get the exact same product somewhere else, then they’re usually more inclined to do that,” said Sammut. “It’s like looking at Bell and Rogers: They’re the exact same product, but it’s a question of who’s going to screw you less.”
The CMHC analysis of Equifax data also determined that refinances declined in 2017 compared with a year earlier, and it’s likely because fewer homeowners were willing to leverage their properties, which is consistent with the decelerated price growth in some of the country’s major markets at the time.
“The only explanation I can think of is you have borrowers seeing a stricter environment,” said Bourassa-Ochoa. “People wanted to see what would happen because of the threat of rate increases and stricter and stricter regulation. They probably just wanted to hold off, and that included refinances for debt consolidation, renovations to their home or changing lenders and increasing the amount borrowed.”  By Neil Sharma.
Roundup of the latest mortgage and housing news. 
From Mortgage Professionals Canada. 
There is never a better time than now for a free mortgage check-up.  It makes sense for us to revisit your mortgage and ensure it still meets your needs and performs optimally.  Perhaps you’ve been thinking about refinancing to consolidate debt, purchasing a rental or vacation property, or simply want to know you have the best deal. Whatever your needs, we can evaluate your situation and help you determine what’s right for you.

 

Adriaan Driessen
Mortgage Broker 
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
Adriaan Driessen
Sales Representative & Partner
PC275 Realty Brokerage
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
Adriaan Driessen
Mortgage Broker 
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
Lori Richards Kovac
Mortgage Agent & Administrator
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.852.7116
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
Adriaan Driessen
Sales Representative & Senior Partner
PC275 Realty Brokerage
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
21 Aug

Residential Market Update

General

Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

WEEKLY RESIDENTIAL  MARKET UPDATE 

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Industry & Market Highlights 

Market improvements as expected

Improvements in the housing market that were forecast for the second half of this year appear to be materializing.

The July numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association show a sales increase of 1.9% in July over June.  June was up more than 4% from May.  Year-over-year, however, July sales were off 1.3%, pulled down by fewer sales in major urban centres in British Columbia.  The decline in B.C. was offset by increases in the Greater Toronto Area, which saw an 18.6% jump from a year ago.

Home prices were down compared to June, but up modestly from a year ago.  The MLS Home Price Index recorded a 2.1% increase while the national average price was up by 1%.  Condominium apartments and townhouses led the way with increases of 10.1% and 4.7% respectively.  One and two-storey single family homes saw price declines of 0.7% and 1.5% respectively.

The average price for a home in Canada stands at $481,500.  With Toronto and Vancouver taken out, the average drops to $383,000.

In the GTA home prices dipped 0.6%.  In B.C. price increases slowed but still posted remarkable gains well into the double digits in some areas. (GVA: +6.7%; Fraser Valley: +13.8%; Victoria: 8.2%; elsewhere on Vancouver Island: +13.7%)

Calgary and Edmonton recorded small year-over-year declines of 1.7% and 1.3%.  Montreal posted a moderate increase of 5.7%.

The number of new listings was down by 1.2% putting the sales-to-new listings ratio at 55.9%.  The ratio’s long-term average is 53.4%.  By First National Financial.

Stats indicate adjustment to B-20

Real estate sales in Canada are trending upward and it’s likely an indication that consumers have come to grips with B-20.

Canadian Real Estate Association sales statistics for July show  national home sales rose 1.9% over the previous month—and according to REMAX’s regional executive vice president, that means buyers have finally adjusted to stricter qualification rules.

“It certainly looks like consumers are slowly becoming accustomed to the B-20 mortgage qualification guidelines,” said Elton Ash. “It’s occurring a little later than we thought, and that seems to be the reason why inventory levels are dropping in the Toronto area.”

While a tough pill to swallow for many, Canadians are realizing that in order to become homeowners, they’ll have to settle for less house.

“What’s occurring is they’re readjusting their expectations,” he said. “In other words, where they may have qualified previously to purchase an $850,000 home, they’re now looking at a $750,000 home. It’s not that they’re seeking secondary financing—because the only lenders not bound by B-20 are credit unions and private lenders—it’s reducing their overall expectations of what they can afford in the type of home they’re looking for.”

The real estate market, it would appear, has finally balanced, and Ash expects that to last through the first quarter of 2019. He added that last year’s record sales volume and price increases were an anomaly that people should be cognizant about before making drawing comparisons.

“When you measure against a record-setting year on a year-over-year basis, what appears to be negative is actually positive,” said Ash. “The whole B-20 mortgage qualification stress test was brought in to slow the market, and that is certainly what’s occurring, and what we’re getting into is more traditional market situation where it’s balanced overall. The days on market for homes are stretching out to what they were, and multiple offer situations have disappeared across the board, although in Toronto proper they occur in certain situations.”  By Neil Sharma.

CMHC introduces enhancements that provide flexibility for self-employed borrowers effective Oct. 1, 2018

I’m sure you’ve heard by now the CMHC has made some changes to how self-employed Canadians can access financing. The CMHC have kindly provided some details on the new guidelines:

Approximately 15% of Canadians are self-employed and may have difficulty accessing financing to buy a home, since their income sources may vary or be less predictable than employed borrowers. In line with the National Housing Strategy commitment to address the housing needs of Canadians along the housing continuum, CMHC is pleased to introduce enhancements that provide increased flexibility for satisfying income and employment requirements for self-employed borrowers.

 

The following table outlines enhancements to CMHC’s guidelines, which apply to transactional and portfolio insurance (1-4 unit residential properties):  Review it HERE.

The noted enhancements to CMHC’s guidelines for satisfying income and employment requirements for self-employed borrowers will become effective on October 1, 2018.

Please note that the establishment of these CMHC guidelines does not preclude Approved Lenders from observing their own lending practices.  As such, implementation of CMHC guidelines may vary among lenders.  By Dave Teixeira, Dominion Lending Centres.