By Colin Campbell - Friday, March 29, 2013 - 0 Comments
In Ottawa, the leader of the NDP—the NDP—accused the Conservative finance minister, Jim Flaherty, of “banana republic behaviour” for his efforts to intervene in the economy and influence mortgage rates.
Meanwhile, Flaherty’s one-time ally in his anti-debt fight, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, has declared the household debt problem solved— apparently, a debt-to-GDP ratio of 165 per cent is no longer anything to worry about.
In Vancouver, a former prime minister, Kim Campbell, made headlines this month for filing a lawsuit in which she’s trying to get out of a 2007 condo purchase and recoup a $368,000 deposit. The Canadian housing market, it seems, has entered the twilight zone.
It’s getting harder and harder to tell what’s sensical and what’s nonsensical. Even the Tory cabinet can’t seem to agree if it should be concerned about Canadians taking on big mortgages at discount rates, with the Tories’ Small Business Minister Maxime Bernier joining Thomas Mulcair in his criticism of Flaherty.
By Chris Sorensen - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 3:59 PM - 0 Comments
The housing bubble has burst, and few will emerge unscathed
Keith Roy began warning his clients about a faltering Vancouver housing market in early 2012. The realtor says he was tipped off not by industry statistics, but by chatter across backyard fences. “When you hear about a homeowner who thinks his neighbour got too much money when he sold his house, you know there’s something going on,” says Roy. “That was the first clue.”
The next shoe to drop was a handful of homes in desirable west side neighbourhoods that took a few extra days to sell. Sensing a shift in the market, Roy put his own house up for sale in June and penned a blog posting the following month that advised people to “cash out.” Though he was criticized by fellow agents for breaking rank, Roy says he now feels vindicated after watching Vancouver home sales crumble to their lowest point in more than decade, with prices falling 3.5 per cent since hitting a high last May. The lesson? Recognizing a looming real estate downturn is more art than science; once it shows up in the numbers, it’s too late to do much about it. “One day the phone just stops ringing,” Roy says. “Then you’re in it.” Continue…
By Erica Alini - Monday, December 10, 2012 at 10:28 AM - 0 Comments
New construction projects of both single houses and multi-unit homes fell in November for the third consecutive month, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said on Monday. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 196,125 units last month, a 3.6 per cent decline from a downwardly revised 203,487 units in October. That was below the 201,200 forecast given by analysts polled by Reuters and well under the high of over 250,000 units the market hit in April of this year.
At 58,600 units, construction of single homes hit the lowest level in 16 years excluding the recession period from Dec. 2008 to July 2009. There were fewer new projects underway in the condo market as well, but the decline there was more modest. Multi-family homes fell 3.2 per cent to 115,700. “This simply highlights the oft-repeated point that if you mention overbuilding in Canada, you’re talking about condos,” noted economist Robert Kavcic at BMO.
The Bank of Canada recently singled out the condominium market as the Achille’s heel of Canada’s housing market. “A specific concern,” the BoC wrote in its December Financial System Review, is that the total number of condo units under construction “is now well above its historical average relative to the population.”
Across the country, Ontario and B.C. were leading the downward trend said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC. In urban areas, housing fell by 14.3 per cent in Ontario, 16.5 per cent in B.C. and 45.6 per cent in Atlantic Canada. “The drop in starts in Atlantic Canada was primarily due to a decrease in multi-unit housing construction in Halifax, following higher than normal activity in October,” Laberge said. Urban starts were up 15.4 per cent in Quebec and 16.1 per cent in the Prairies.
By Sunny Freeman, The Canadian Press - Friday, August 31, 2012 at 10:23 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – A new condo report suggests first-time buyers, retirees and population growth will continue to fuel demand and price growth for the compact living spaces over the next few years.
The study by Genworth Canada found that average condo resale prices are expected to rise next year in seven of the eight metropolitan centres studied.
Prices in Toronto are projected to jump 2.5 per cent to $312,352.
The highest increase however, is expected to be in Edmonton where prices could rise 3.2 per cent.
Vancouver is the only city where condo prices are expected to drop, by two per cent to $348,152.
The report stands in contrast to warnings from economists and officials that the condo market in some hot markets is reaching bubble territory that could soon burst.
By Tamsin McMahon - Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 2:36 PM - 0 Comments
It turns out cramming more people into cities won’t help the environment or our health, and may even hurt the economy
Last month Toronto’s deputy mayor, Doug Holyday, uttered what has become a cultural taboo in Canada’s largest city. Downtown Toronto, he said, is no place to raise a family.
Holyday, who lives down the street from his grandchildren in the suburban Toronto neighbourhood of Etobicoke, was against a city plan to force condo developers to reserve 10 per cent of their buildings for three-bedroom “family friendly” units.
“I could just see now: ‘Where’s little Ginny?’ ” he said. “She’s downstairs playing in the traffic on her way to the park.”
By Chris Sorensen - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 10:34 AM - 0 Comments
There are signs the real estate market may finally have stopped soaring
There’s a theory that whenever someone plans the world’s tallest skyscraper—whether it’s the Empire State Building in the late 1920s or the Burj Dubai in the mid-2000s—a financial disaster can’t be far behind. But could the same be true when it comes to over-the-top condo projects in Canada, a country many believe is in the grips of a massive real-estate bubble?
Barely a month ago, the developers behind the proposed E Condos in Toronto released a set of stylized renderings of the project, scheduled to be completed in 2017. They depicted two slender towers with glass-walled swimming pools that will partly overhang the sidewalk a dozen-or-so floors up, granting bathing-suit-clad residents “amazing underwater views of the city.”
It may just be a coincidence, but the eye candy appeared around the same time Toronto’s blazing real estate market finally began to lose steam. Sales in Toronto slumped 13 per cent during the month of June, with the biggest decline—18 per cent—coming in the city’s frothy condo sector, which Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has identified as a key source of concern.