Canada housing bubble set to burst

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NDPP
Canada housing bubble set to burst

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Canada, Housing Bubble Set to Burst   -  by Mike Whitney

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/09/11/canadas-housing-bubble-set-to-burst/

"Canada's housing bubble is about to burst, and when it does, hundreds of billions in equity will be wiped out, unemployment will spike, and the economy willl sink into a protracted slump. Red alert in the great white north.."

 

lagatta

Often Counterpunch publishes rather strange articles and sources; I've never heard of Mike Whitney - has anyone?

This has hit even the mainstream news here in Québec, with so much "growth" based on "housing" aka sprawl and real-estate speculation. There may well be a glut of condos on the market here very soon.

Is that at all set to happen in the true condo-bubble-towns of Toronto and Vancouver? People do have to live somewhere, but the prices have become utterly absurd.

onlinediscountanvils

lagatta wrote:
Often Counterpunch publishes rather strange articles and sources; I've never heard of Mike Whitney - has anyone?

 

His writing frequently appears on Counterpunch, but I'm not familiar with his work from anywhere else.

Slumberjack

I've seen articles written by him on other sites.  I don't mind so much reading views and opinion pieces by individuals who are relatively unknown, at least by comparison with established authors who are tasked to produce the mainstream vulgate.  The approved authors who enjoy wider exposure are assigned this status for a reason.  At least Whitney's contentions are well supported with gleanings from the horse's mouth itself, the financial press mostly.  And it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that former Goldman Sachs exec Mark Carney is quite adept at performing the 'see, hear, speak no evil' routine concerning economic bubbles.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In his first paragraph he talks about the "same scenario" in the US, Japan, Ireland and Spain.  I am not an expert but from what I have read there seem to be many fundamental differences in what happened in those countries.  As well it seems to me that the housing market in Saint John's does not affect the market in Montreal and neither of them have any effect on the market in Vancouver.

Now if interest rates where to double in the space of a few years without a rise in incomes then a lot of people will be in trouble.  That was the scenario that caused the early '80's housing crash when rates rose about 80% from around 10% to 18% in the space of a year or two.

Unionist

Whitney's article is very strange - polemical, pushy, chatty. And he lives in Washington state?

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/great-debate/is-canada-sit... is an interesting 3-part series in the Globe, where they have big shots debating both sides of the housing bubble question.

NorthReport

When you read articles in the mainstream press more often than not, they try to disguise any downturns or coming downturns. And then of course you also have the constant chatter of the conspiracy activists. 

Are there some good websites that give you the month to month, year to year, and decade to decade real estate prices for different municipalities/regions in Canada without all the noise from the real estate industry? 

jerrym

NorthReport wrote:

When you read articles in the mainstream press more often than not, they try to disguise any downturns or coming downturns. And then of course you also have the constant chatter of the conspiracy activists. 

Remember that the MSM has a vested interest in being a real estate booster, as a significant part of its revenue comes from comes from real estate advertising and real estate firms have pulled advertising at times from newspapers that were critical of the industry or pessimistic about housing price trends. 

Rabble_Incognito

lagatta wrote:
I've never heard of Mike Whitney - has anyone?

Irrelevant. The text is the document for study, not the author, just like the Iliad is interesting but Homer isn't. And would his article be any more 'valuable' to you if it were written by Paul Krugman or someone more noteworthy?

unionist wrote:
And he lives in Washington state?

Irrelevant. Author residence has no sensible relation to the text.

unionist wrote:
Here is an interesting 3-part series in the Globe, where they have big shots debating both sides of the housing bubble question.

Thank you for the link.

First, none of these 'big shots' has expressed the basis for their predictions of the future, which explains the variance in the predictions between each pundit (e.g., non-agreement). Consider the following:

"What economic hit should Canada expect when the deleveraging and accompanying housing correction eventually set in? Pessimistically, reduced residential construction might slice 0.75 per cent off annual economic growth over a two-year period, a negative wealth effect might remove another 0.5 per cent a year, while a greater proclivity to save might subtract a further 0.5 per cent annually. When pitted against the recent trend of 2.5 per cent GDP growth, that would appear to leave only a meagre expansion."

The key word is 'expect' - expectation is a likelihood judgment - a probability. So what is the probabilistic basis for any of these predictions? There is no basis in statistical fact, only subjective impressions based on their 'feel' for the economy, sort of like someone asserting that a possibly fraudulent painting with no provinance is indeed a Van Gogh, without having specified 'reasons' why it should be so. They are selling you a fake. Why 0.75%? Why 0.5%? Why 2.5% GDP growth? Why not 2.2% growth, or 1.4%? It does matter. None of these 'uncertainties' is addressed, yet he has expressed very exact figures. Numbers are of paramount importance - he's being 'arrogant' to specify these figures - if he were 'honest' and not corrupted by the system, he'd express what are called 'confidence intervals', not ballparked numbers. He(they) give baseless hunches and we're supposed to suck it up as readers because these are prestigious bankers, and this is, after all, the very important and prestigious 'Globe and Mail'.

Second, risk is a subjective evaluation. I submit that million dollar thinkers who work for banks and financial institutions have, in virtue of their economic standing, completely different subjective evaluations of 'risk' than homeowners, and therefore are more 'resilient' to economic downturns, thus more 'risk taking' than the people for whom the 'risk' really matters - the homeowners. Furthermore, they all own stocks, and property, and they sell stocks (sometimes sell short) and they sell property, as do the firms they work for. How do they achieve objectivity when their financial worth is tied up in the very predictions they are making to a population which may be swayed by their words? In other words, why do you trust these people when you know they (very likely) stand to profit by moving the populace in one purchasing direction over another? I am not saying I 'know' they are corrupted, I'm saying it is reasonable to suspect it may be so, and my intuition that they're corrupted is at least as rooted in fact as the predictions they offer.

Third, experts are often overconfident in their predictions, and as a result, are less likely to modulate their predictions against what they do not know, and so, they tend to have predictions that are more variable (wild assed) and extreme than non experts (Kahneman). Their 'detachment' from the risk, their financial stake or entrenchment in the affairs of the economy (which can corrupt their motives) and their tendency to be extreme, makes them especially dangerous oracles.

The predictive accuracy of stock market financial experts is r = 0.01 (Kahneman) for 12 month predictions, and since a good deal of the economy rides on the stock market (+ luck) you can draw your own conclusions, and judge for yourselves whether you think these guys are full of shit.

Finally, I find it fascinating that Babble folks sniff at conspiracy notions, and question the credibility of the lesser known author on a harmless blog, are alert to his writing style and his relative obscurity, both of which are not relevant to the issue of whether or not what he says has any merit. Yet when it comes to the MSM, folks kind of 'forget' that it was the wild eyed conspiracy theorists, not the MSM, who were correct about the machinations and power mongering of Rupert Murdoch (and Mr Cameron) - conspiracy intuitions proved superior to the intuitions of experts who all crapped on the very notion of a conspiracy even though a conspiracy is precisely and exactly what existed at the time (and has been proven in subsequent committees and investigations by the UK - that's why he entered the PM residence from the rear). This is not to say expertise isn't valuable, but it is to say you should choose your experts wisely, and the Globe and Mail piece isn't the place you're going to find wise counsel.

See Kahneman (Status lovers - he's a Nobel prize winner in economics) Thinking Fast and Slow for reference.

onlinediscountanvils

Rabble_Incognito wrote:
Finally, I find it fascinating that Babble folks sniff at conspiracy notions, and question the credibility of the lesser known author on a harmless blog, are alert to his writing style and his relative obscurity

 

You read a lot into that one question. I didn't think that's what was being implied, but I disagree with you nevertheless. I think knowing something about an author can be relevant, both to how you interpret a text, and to its credibility. 

Slumberjack

onlinediscountanvils wrote:
 I think knowing something about an author can be relevant, both to how you interpret a text, and to its credibility. 

True enough.

 

lagatta

People who have read my input to babble over the years (I joined at the outset, after the Québec FTAA/ZLÉA/ALCA Summit and Countersummit - for some technical glitz reason I had to rejoin again in 2002), will remember that I am a long-term tenant association activist and certainly a person who is critical of developers and the real-estate industry, and of capitalist urban/suburban development in general.

I don't think critics of the "system" are a whit less credible than bourgeois press or as one says nowadays, MSM. But I do think our writings have to be well-documented to stand up to their attacks. And just found it very odd that I had never heard of this writer.

What JerryM says about developers and boosters applies equally to the car (and trucking) industry. Media are full of columns and fluff pieces worshipping the car, and it is very hard to get in enough analysis and information on the lethal effects of carcentrism, sprawl, and the choice to rely on long-haul trucking rather than rail.

I'm sure we could find several other examples of business interests controlling not only outlooks, but stories chosen as noteworthy.

Slumberjack

lagatta wrote:
 I joined at the outset, after the Québec FTAA/ZLÉA/ALCA Summit and Countersummit 

Me too.

Slumberjack

lagatta wrote:
But I do think our writings have to be well-documented to stand up to their attacks.

It really doesn't matter because iron clad content is simply ignored and tossed into the irrelevant bin alongside everything else.  39% of Canadians either suspect or don't believe in evolution.  Interestingly, a similar percentage has provided us with the government we have today.  I'd argue that by and large, both percentages represent the same demographic.  It seems very few people are impressed or swayed by fact these days, and correspondingly, I believe people shouldn't place too much emphasis on the ability of fact to influence events.  It must be a source of continuous amusement for those who purposefully craft and trade in falsehoods and disinformation to know how diligent and quixotic the competition is.  Chasing it down to impress someone seems such a waste of time.

Rabble_Incognito

Slumberjack wrote:

onlinediscountanvils wrote:
 I think knowing something about an author can be relevant, both to how you interpret a text, and to its credibility. 

True enough.

Asking 'who', before assessing what is said, is a bias. And even liars can utter "1+1=2" and be correct, just like credible Prime Ministers of Canada can salute Adolf Hitler under the mistaken belief that he's 'good' for the world. Those who follow the lead of credible people spouting nonsense (or doing mischief) without appraising the act (or the text) independently of the actors, do so at their own peril.

Asking 'who', after assessing what is said, is only going to sway your views of the piece, or confirm your views of the piece, it certainly won't change the piece, it's accuracy, validity, or the predictions made therein. 

 

 

 

 

Unionist

My problem with Whitney's article was not who the author is, or where he's from (except that he sounds like he's from Mars), but that it was amateurish, hyperbolic, and kind of like screaming in your face - in short, impossible to take seriously:

Quote:

Officials from the (Steven) Harper administration have repeatedly dismissed the idea of a bubble in order to lure more buyers into the market. Here’s an excerpt from an article in Reuters that makes that very point: [snip]

What a crock. Harper and his bank buddies know exactly what’s going on. They’re leading the sheep to slaughter and don’t give a damn who gets hurt. And all the nonsense about “tougher mortgage rules” is pure bunkum.

So tell me, dear reader, if the government agreed to guarantee 100% of every mortgage that you made, don’t you think you’d make a lot of crappy loans?

Of course you would, because the more mortgages you issued, the more money you’d make. It’s a question of incentives, bad incentives. That’s what’s going on in Canada.

Ummm, no, I wouldn't make a lot of crappy loans, dear author.

Then he really starts winding himself up:

Quote:

Are the officials in the Harper administration so braindead that they really don’t see the monstrous bubble right below their noses or do they have some other objective in mind, like creating the (crisis) conditions they need to rebuild the economy in a way that better serves the needs of their moneybags constituents?

Isn’t that it? Isn’t that what Bubblenomics is really all about, creating a Capitalist Valhalla where pay-for schools and pay-for roads and pay-for health care are the norm, where the old and infirm must drain their bank accounts to buy their own medication and shelter, where the sick and unemployed are left to fend for themselves, and where all the working class gains of the last century are wiped out in one fell-swoop plunging the country into a Dickensian nightmare of 7-day-16 hour-workweeks with zilch benefits and zero pension?

Very loopy.

My emphasis. Though I think the author didn't really need any more emphasis.

Unionist

Exactly.

Rabble_Incognito

None of the oracles swayed me. Even the credible ones.

Predicting a bubble would require, in my mind, a considerable amount of empirical evidence to buttress one's claims, because what we're discussing is complex. And I'm not sure you can just deduce that a bubble is nigh. But if you predict it, it's incumbent on the author to specify 'when' it's gonna happen in terms of the precise circumstances required to make it happen. And then why these circumstances 'will' happen in the very near future. Still, all that work, and luck can still intervene and blow up your prediction - predictions of this kind should be expressed as confidence intervals, to my mind, for the reason I've just stated. Not attaching confidence to your prediction implies way more confidence than is credible.

 

NorthReport

jerrym wrote:

NorthReport wrote:

When you read articles in the mainstream press more often than not, they try to disguise any downturns or coming downturns. And then of course you also have the constant chatter of the conspiracy activists. 

Remember that the MSM has a vested interest in being a real estate booster, as a significant part of its revenue comes from comes from real estate advertising and real estate firms have pulled advertising at times from newspapers that were critical of the industry or pessimistic about housing price trends. 

I thought that was what I was getting at with my post.

So what websites house accessable and useful historical housing price stats? 

6079_Smith_W

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

Asking 'who', before assessing what is said, is a bias.

Well sure. But the fact remains that it may sometimes be relevant, and not only if it is a matter of professional credibility.

And good luck finding that exact predictor of when a bubble might burst. I suspect you might find the person with that answer lounging on a private yacht off Barbados, not giving the goods away for free.

 

 

 

 

GreenNeck

There has been predictions of the housing bubble to burst for more than 5 years, and so far none of it happen.

One factor that keeps the bubble intact, at least in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, is the influx of buyers from abroad, particularly China.

A friend of mine who works as a real estate agent in Toronto said most of her business if for clients from China and India. They see Canada as a safe haven, in the case things go bad, and they have money - lots of it. In a recent example, my friend sold a 60-year old, 800 square foot bungalow for almost a million dollars in Willowdale to a couple from Shanghai. The new owners promptly had the small house bulldozed and are now building a mansion on the property. You see that all over Toronto.

The only thing that could precipitate a market collapse (besides an interest rate spike) would be a major downturn in Asia, which would cause commodity prices to drop. As natural resources go, Canada goes.

Rabble_Incognito

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

Asking 'who', before assessing what is said, is a bias.

Well sure. But the fact remains that it may sometimes be relevant, and not only if it is a matter of professional credibility.

And good luck finding that exact predictor of when a bubble might burst. I suspect you might find the person with that answer lounging on a private yacht off Barbados, not giving the goods away for free.


Thanks for the reply. The dude on the yacht got lucky. And getting lucky is pleasurable. ;-) Until that 'fact' is quantified, credibility is a 'could be' notion. I don't like to conflate 'possible', or 'plausible', with 'probable'- to each his own. And yeah, I don't care for single factor causality, exccept say "I'm hungry therefore I eat" or "I'm horny therefore I screw". Aside from a few single cases like that, most people in the social sciences posit multiple factor causality. Kahneman has convinced me that predicting the future is a crapshoot - kind of pulled the rug out from beneath - heightened the humility factor, which is 'good' because it forces us to be more critical of the fast (and lazy) choices we make.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

GreenNeck wrote:
There has been predictions of the housing bubble to burst for more than 5 years, and so far none of it happen.

One factor that keeps the bubble intact, at least in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, is the influx of buyers from abroad, particularly China.

A friend of mine who works as a real estate agent in Toronto said...

Facts and Anecdotes: anti-Asian racism and real estate in Vancouver

A recent BMO report blames Canada’s unsustainable household debt and world-record housing prices on an “enormous inflow of capital from non-resident Chinese nationals.” When a journalist wrote to the author of the report in search of a source for these enormous inflows, he received the following response: “It’s based on anecdotal reports; there are no reliable data on foreign-resident purchases…If you find a good source of data, please pass it on to us.”

Despite the entrenched belief that since the 1980s the Chinese have succeeded in throwing off the equilibrium of the local housing market, the reality is that the vast majority of foreign residential real-estate in Vancouver is American-owned. According to 2010 property statistics collected by BC Assessment Authority (the provincial Crown corporation that assesses all properties in B.C. for tax purposes), about 58% of foreign-owned real-estate is American. Europe and the United States together account for 70% of all foreign-owned real-estate in the city, with the whole of Asia accounting for only 22%.

In response to these numbers, commentators who hope to peg the housing crisis on Asian capital maintain that while the volume of purchases from Asia is lower, it is the nature of those purchases that matters, since Asian buyers are bidding for luxury housing at the top and dragging the rest of the market upwards with them. Again, reality disrupts the myth. In 2010, the highest recorded purchases were from the United States ($7.17m) and Europe ($7.55m), while the highest Asian purchase was a Hong Kong owner, reaching $6.84m.

Despite the facts, numbers are often not enough to compete with anecdotes. Regardless of the data, the notion of Asian capital as a dominant category for understanding the housing crisis persists, with constant statements to the effect that “despite the lack of statistical proof,” “despite the dearth of empirical data,” “despite reports that point to the contrary,” the threat is nonetheless real. These types of analysis invoke a set of signifiers – “Asian,” “foreign,” “offshore” – that in reality serve as empty signifiers: they mean nothing but can absorb whatever prejudice is found lying around. The empty signifier is a floating signifier meant to displace blame wherever necessary.

Rabble_Incognito

Sorry for the posting flurry...

GreenNeck wrote:

There has been predictions of the housing bubble to burst for more than 5 years, and so far none of it happen.

One factor that keeps the bubble intact, at least in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, is the influx of buyers from abroad, particularly China.

A friend of mine who works as a real estate agent in Toronto said most of her business if for clients from China and India. They see Canada as a safe haven, in the case things go bad, and they have money - lots of it. In a recent example, my friend sold a 60-year old, 800 square foot bungalow for almost a million dollars in Willowdale to a couple from Shanghai. The new owners promptly had the small house bulldozed and are now building a mansion on the property. You see that all over Toronto.

The only thing that could precipitate a market collapse (besides an interest rate spike) would be a major downturn in Asia, which would cause commodity prices to drop. As natural resources go, Canada goes.

Excellent - very interesting because the influx of foreign buyers has been a question I've had for a few years and it didn't occur to me that this could be so in Toronto (Van yes), see, I've been looking at the bottom of the market <$100K for some time, and it's been evident to me that for the past 2 years there have been a lot of fractured homes on the market, but they do get bought. Windsor market is best, Cambridge, London, the manuf belt. etc., 

I check the bottom end of MLS (wc is c. 2-3% above market $) and people are still flipping homes (thus inflating prices), plus, I suspect the Harper bank bailout means that the banks are sitting pretty, able to hold these properties and take the loss from the PrevOwnrs bankruptcy (CMHC insurance probably paid the bill for the bankruptcies, right? Not entirely sure I understand all the players - I've never bought.).

The banks didn't seem to lose - I recall a report suggesting $120B - is that right?. I think Harper wants prices high - zero market correction - it's bad politics, and Harper wants political wins. I believe/imagine/guess the banks are holding onto places and are willing to lose the houses to bugs, rot, lack of maintenance, because they can hold the property until the (land value now) = (the land plus house value of 5 years ago).

Do you think Harper is increasing the 'economic' immigrants over the 'refugee and other' immigrants so they can buy up the properties left behind by bankrupt workers? 

I have no clue whether this makes any sense - never studied economics.

6079_Smith_W

The far eastern invasion we are concerned about here is from Calgary.

VERY far east.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Thanks Catchfire for dispelling that racist myth.

On the coast, especially for recreational property, many of the absentee owners are from the oil patch in Alberta

NorthReport

 - from the same paper, the same day Laughing

Risk of Canadian housing bubble appears to be easing, Fitch says

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/r...

Housing market will crash: research firm

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/markets/market-blog/housin...

521

Sean in Ottawa

The two articles are not entirely at odds. It comes down to perspective on where we are today.

If you were afraid a bubble would happen but did not think we were yet in a full blown bubble crisis the easing of the prices would give you reason to think the risk of a future bubble was going down. Certainly I'd agree that the risk of a future bubble is easing if prices are flat or going down. The disagreement is if we are already in a bubble. Even if future risk is reduced, if we are in a bubble already it can still burst even if we no longer add air to it.

The other article is taking the easing of prices as a sign that we are in a bubble already and it is now collapsing.

Either the easing of prices will prevent things from getting worse or they represent the worst that is to come.

I think that we are in a bubble-- evidenced by the home prices to wages gap which has grown over the last few years. The problem is a flat market may not be air coming out of the bubble at all because wages are also flat. If wages are flat and the bubble is there and prices are flat then this means the bubble is merely holding either to deflate or burst later.

This is the main question for those who are not biased: not if we have a bubble but how it will be reduced-- either with a painful burst or a slower deflation. I suspect that bursting is more likely than a soft landing now. If we were to have a soft landing the prices would have had to ease while there was some growth in wages. A flat market in housing while wages are growing a bit would take air out of the bubble. However once wages are flat the only way air goes out is if prices go down. It is easier for prices to stay flat than to go down a little. Once they start to slide it is difficult to stop that from being a more major drop because fears, expectations are harder  to contain when there is an actual drop and easy to contain when there is stability.Also the bubble grew far too long and the pressure is too much.

Of course there are multiple markets in Canada that do have an effect on each other but it is not a given that the whole country will go in the same direction.

All this said, I am a renter so I have the bias of hoping prices will come down so I could one day afford to own a home.

NorthReport

Who operates this website?

 

http://www.livingin-canada.com/house-prices-canada.html

 

Canadian Cities
Average House Prices
January 2012

City / Average House Price / 12 Month Change

Vancouver, BC / $752,000 / - 1.3 %

Toronto, Ont / $464,000 / + 8.5 %

Calgary, Alb / $382,000 / - 3.1 %

Ottawa, Ont / $350,000 /  + 6.0 %

Montreal, Que / $311,000 / + 5.6 %

Regina, Sask / $285,000 / + 9.5 %

Halifax, NS / $259,000 / + 2.9 %

Fredericton, NB / $159,000 / + 10.7 %

Canadian Provinces
Average House Prices
January 2012

Province / Average House Price / 12 Month Change

British Columbia$ / 532,000 / - 3.0 %

Ontario / $359,000 / + 6.3 %

Alberta / $343,000 / - 1.7 %

Quebec / $259,000 / + 2.7 %

Saskatchewan / $261,000 / + 5.4 %

Newfoundland / Labrador / $274,000 / + 16.4 %

Manitoba / $228,000 / + 2.6 % 

Nova Scotia / $211,000 / + 1.7 %

New Brunswick / $149,000 / - 1.2 %

Prince Edward Island / $146,000 / - 2.3 %

Canadian Average / $348,000 / + 1.2 %

Sean in Ottawa

That website is interesting and suspect.

First there is no statement about who they are or their purpose.

Second there is no contact information or even a contact form so you can't send them a message.

Third they have picked a brand name that is completely unsearchable.

Fourth they do not cite any sources for their information.

Their information in several respects is also wildly inaccurate. (The idea that you could have a head nurse supervisor in Calgary working for under $18 an hour should tell you something).

Much of the writing seems to be cut and paste without attribution from other websites that also claimed copyright over the words.

It is possible the site is a amateur trying to generate google ad income or there is something else behind it.

Certainly the site ought to have no credibility given how it is presented.

Rabble_Incognito

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/09/20/f-rfa-macdonald-housing-pr...

This guy seems to think there's a bubble, but our banks are so responsible <eyes rolling back in head>, it won't be as bad as the USA.

 

NorthReport

I do not know how credible this report is, but the last people you want to advise you on where the price of housing is going are the real estate offices, or any other real estate industry connected groups, such as mortgage brokers, as they all will have a conflict of interest.

Better off to somehow get your information from other sources.

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/24/toronto-condo-house-sales-collap...

712

Slumberjack

While we don't have sub prime to contend with, persistent and historically low rates are still blowing wind into the housing asset bubble, which continues to make borrowing and monthly payments feasible in a wage stagnant economy. We can count on the fact that the corporate media will downplay as much as possible the effects of any shifting trends that emerge. I was in LA a year before the housing meltdown finally became a concern worthy of being reported on, driving around in ghost neighbourhoods that had sprung up everywhere, with repo signs on nearly every second dwelling fronted by lawns that were parched brown from a lack of attention, because nobody had been home in awhile. The construction industry had been laying off workers and white hats alike for some time. A full year before the official announcements and the Wall Street fiasco, Stucco McMansions in LA County's Antelope Valley had already devalued from an average of 500K to 250K. One year later the reality of it could no longer be suppressed by the corporate financial media.  Probably not a good time right now to be borrowing and spending against the equity.

Sean in Ottawa

The media are presenting this as a story that affects home owners and prospective home owners and are not including the impact on tenants. The property tax angle is being presented in the same way:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/rising-home-values-could-hu...

Here is what I submitted as a comment below the article- long but I think important to explain:

This is one issue that the media ought to be more careful with. All the stories about municipal tax and the impact of housing prices present this as an issue for just homeowners and prospective homeowners. This is not accurate. The mistake not only affects who is interested in the story, it implies that renters do not have as much of an interest or stake in what happens to municipal budgets or politics in general. Renters vote in appalling low numbers.

The reality is that renters on average pay higher rates of property tax than do owner-occupiers. The mill rate on apartment buildings is higher proportional to the value of the property than it is for other housing. Also, the property tax is passed on through rents to the tenants and is a huge proportion of all rents in the province. Increases to property taxes affect the maximum increase landlords are allowed to collect and are used when calculating above guideline increases.

To be fair to the media there are two other policies that would be helpful other than better attention to stories on property taxes. We could rename the tax to call it a "residential tax" to make it clear this is paid for residential services rather than a tax on property. And second, landlords should not be collecting this as a hidden tax. This could be a visible tax landlord's collect and submit. This could be fairer for landlords as well-- why should they pay a residential services tax on vacant units if that tax is for city services? Why shouldn't their tenants know how much of the unit rent goes to property tax? I would recommend in the meantime that landlords tell tenants how much they are paying in property tax. One could argue they may not want tenants to realize this as this is a class of people that the property owning class generally do not want to have politically active but this is fair and it is accountability.

NorthReport
NorthReport

Anyone heard of Brian Ripley?

Picture

http://www.chpc.biz/vancouver_chart.html

Picture

http://www.chpc.biz/plunge-o-meter.html

But there another aspect to purchasing a home which is lifestyle, which obviously for lots of people makes purchasing a home worth it 

640

 

Sean in Ottawa

I read his stuff. While I agree that the market is obviously due for a major correction I do not agree with much of his logic or figures. As well he has been predicting the same thing for years each time saying this was about to happen. If you predict a correction long enough it will eventually happen but that does not mean you were able to say when or how much.

Frankly I think it is ridiculous to suggest that anyone could predict actual percentage drops-- there are far too many variables to do that. The charts look scientific but they are not based on any reasonable science -- they are simply conjecture proposing to be more.

NorthReport

How do you get the month to month average home sales price history for an area now that the real estate boards have jimmied their stats into not providing that information any more?

http://www.rebgv.org/home-price-index

Slumberjack

That's what I find about the highly suspect and Eurocentric GEAB reporting.  They've been predicting stuff that the average fortune teller might ascertain about the market economies, with all of the precision one might expect if one were to depend on a stopped clock for accuracy.  You'll get a whole two seconds worth in any given 24 hour period.

thorin_bane

Yesterday it was reported that Vancouver had a 32% slide in home sales volumne from last year. That my friends is the sound of the pop. When homes aren't selling prices start to deflate pretty quick, esp when they are so overvalued. We hit rock bottom a few years ago which is why my house is worth only 110,000 at present. I have a 22x11 masterbedroom, but because of my neighbourhood and windsor have no economy, My house is worth 30 grand less than when I bought it at the turn of this century. And it was that over valued at the time, unlike the million dollar 2 bedroom jobbies out there.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

You would have a very hard time building a new house for a family of four for under $200,000 plus you have to buy a lot.  People have to realize that not many regular people in a place like Burnaby are thinking of buying a house.  If they dream of home ownership they are thinking about a townhouse in a condo complex.  everything is overpriced where I live including rent.  It is not just house prices that are high.  A bachelor suite in a basement or old apartment building is at minimum $800 a month to rent. Decent housing for a family of four can't be found for under $1200 and those are few and far between most would go for between $1,500 and $1,800 a month.  At today's mortgage rates $1,500 a month will cover $250,000. 

The prices in Metro Vancouver are never going to drop to the point where one could buy a house for $800 a month in mortgage payments like I could if I bought your house in Windsor.  Hell my son or niece who are living on their own with incomes below the living wage line and renting bachelor suites could be buying their own home for those prices.

Sean in Ottawa

Actually Kropotkin the mortgage payments on a house of $110k would be under $500/mo $250k closer to $1100/mo. Unfortunately, for people here in Ottawa a house for a family of 4 is running well over 300k with a 4 bedroom in the $400k range.

Those who have extended family (parents grandparents) and a couple kids need a 4 bedroom house and those are out of sight even in Ottawa -- never mind the pricier places like Vancouver. Rent in Ottawa would allow a middle income person to rent a house for something like 60% of after tax income.

A family in Ottawa well off enough to have $3500 coming in monthly will have a hard time getting housing below 60% of income or worse.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I was using the 5 year rates not the one year rates that leave people more vulnerable to rapid interest rate rises.  I personally have never done anything other than a fiver year rate and I think it is likely the most common option.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

A family in Ottawa well off enough to have $3500 coming in monthly will have a hard time getting housing below 60% of income or worse.

Well off seems hardly an appropriate term for a family making $3,500 a month or $42,000 a year when the average for families was $76,600 in 2010.  30% of that average is about $1,900 a month for mortgage payments.  Thirty percent is a reasonable percentage in any family budget.

Poor people have never been able to get into the housing market in Canada in any generation so I don't expect a family with about 45% of an average families income will be playing that particular capitalist game.  They never have and they never will.

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil21a-eng.htm

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Here is an interesting article that claims the banks are dampening the housing market. The comments section is also rather interesting.

http://www.straight.com/article-805306/vancouver/real-estate-squeeze-play

NorthReport

By shoving Whistler into the mix for a supposed Greater Vancouver area, things appear to be a lot rosier than they really are it seems.

And condo prices it appears only increased less than 3% in East Vancouver in the past 5 years with this so-called index - read the methodology 

http://www.rebgv.org/home-price-index?region=all&type=all&date=2012-09-01

----------------------

Sales

Date / % Change 1 mo / % change 1 yr / % Change 10 yrs

Sep '12 / Down 8.1% / Down 32.5% /  

June '12  / Down 17.2% / Down 27.6% / 

 

Listings

Date / % Change 1 mo / % Change 1 yr / 

Sep '12 / 31.6% / -6.3%

Jun '12 / +22%

http://www.rebgv.org/news-statistics/conditions-continue-favour-buyers-g...

1305

 

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

A family in Ottawa well off enough to have $3500 coming in monthly will have a hard time getting housing below 60% of income or worse.

Well off seems hardly an appropriate term for a family making $3,500 a month or $42,000 a year when the average for families was $76,600 in 2010.  30% of that average is about $1,900 a month for mortgage payments.  Thirty percent is a reasonable percentage in any family budget.

Poor people have never been able to get into the housing market in Canada in any generation so I don't expect a family with about 45% of an average families income will be playing that particular capitalist game.  They never have and they never will.

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil21a-eng.htm

Sorry I said well off enough-- and it is all relative there are a lot of people worse off than this. But the bigger issue is I am talking about money coming in -- sorry if that was not clear -- $3500 monthly cash in after taxes is very close to the average income. I am speaking about after tax money.

Also important is that house prices is not just something for home owners-- rents also are affected by sale prices and values. Vacancy (supply and demand) also have an impact but these are also driven in part by price. Renters are struggling here. Badly.

Sean in Ottawa

Another point that is being conveniently overlooked:

They talk about the average sale price as if it represents the average value of a home. Of course it does not. The average sale price can go up while the average value goes down. You do get a clue from volume.

Here is one way this can happen-- and I suspect it is in fact what is happening:

Prices are falling overall. However, certain income ranges are in more trouble than others. The rich are still buying as before. Larger homes are still selling but at lower prices but sales of smaller cheaper homes are slowing. This makes sense if we assume that the government changes knocked the bottom of the market with a lot of people unable to qualify anymore. the impact of this would be that the average value of a home would drop but that because only the better homes are selling the average selling price would increase.

I came up with this theory on my own and have not seen anyone discuss it. However, it makes sense to me. The only way to prove me wrong would be to look at the actual selling prices of COMPARABLE  homes rather than assume that what is selling today compares with what sold last year.

NorthReport

This is the kind of site that a potential home purchaser needs to peruse rather than most of the nonsense that is spewed out by the real estate industry and the mainstream press. 

 

These Vancouver area price drops are staggering.

 

http://vancouverpricedrop.wordpress.com/

NorthReport

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