Thursday, March 31, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
North End housing No Joke
Todd Allen, a transplanted Canadian living in L.A. and working as a stand-up comic, found himself with extra time on his hands last year while performing here at Rumor’s Comedy Club. "I was here working, but my sets were only 45 minutes a night, so I had a lot of time on my hands," he said via telephone from L.A. Allen rented a bike and began exploring the city. His adventure eventually took him to the North End. "I was baffled at how great some of the housing deals were. Then when I looked at the rental market and saw how high it was; I’ve never seen such a situation," he said. Allen was so impressed by what he saw that he decided to buy a house in the area. He has since sold it and purchased another investment property on Aberdeen Avenue. "I’ve been around North America and never seen things like this," said Allen, who plans to fix up the house and resell it later this spring.
Housing Booms North of the Border
As much of the U.S. housing market limps along, home prices north of the border are on a fresh tear, fired up in part by a borrowing binge that has sent Canadians' debt to record levels—and now higher than their notoriously profligate U.S. neighbors—while income growth pokes along. All that has raised worry at the country's central bank, which repeatedly has warned about rising debt levels, and among some economists, who say the market is ripe for a correction—maybe a steep one. House prices have risen to almost 5.5 times disposable income per worker, well above the long-term historical average of 3.5, he says. "We've been through a fairly hefty housing boom over the last 10 years, and the next three years is going to be an unwinding of that," Mr. Madani says.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Realtors Say Real Estate Bubble Fears Unfounded
Housing prices up 14% over two years, but experts say there’s no fear of sudden drop A healthy labour market, coupled with low interest rates, are behind the strong appreciation in the value of residential real estate in the nation’s capital, several local realtors say.
Average Price of B.C. Home
The average price of a home in B.C. was up 18 per cent in February compared to the same month last year, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association. The price surge was largely due to sales in Metro Vancouver, the BCREA said in a survey, with the average residential price climbing 19.4 per cent, compared to February 2010, to $791,000 from $663,000.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
My take on the US economic crisis has increasingly been that banks were less central than many people think, while the housing bubble and household debt are the key players — which is why financial stabilization by itself wasn’t enough to produce a V-shaped recovery.
But if I take all that seriously, I should be very worried about Canada
Thursday, March 3, 2011
George Weston to Boost Food Prices
George Weston Ltd., the baked goods giant, will raise prices by an average of 5 per cent starting April 1, as it grapples with mounting costs due to soaring prices of commodities such as wheat, sugar and oil. More price increases could be in the offing later this year if commodity costs continue to climb.
A new report warns Canada's housing market is reaching the limits of sustainability and could tumble if there is no moderation.The Bank of Montreal's followup on its November analysis finds that Canada's hot housing market is still not in the red zone for prices, but it's close.The bank notes that after slowing last summer, Canadian home sales rebounded in the fall and house prices have kept rising. On average, home prices rose five per cent in the past year to January, while in Vancouver they rocketed 20 per cent. Incomes, however, have not increased nearly as fast. The bank says the ratio between average resale prices and personal incomes nationally is 14 per cent above the long-run trend, up from last summer, but still below the 21 per cent peak that preceded the 1989 crash. But that is not the case in all markets. Five provinces are currently in the danger zone, led by Saskatchewan, where the ratio is 39 per cent above historic norms. Also well-above the long-run levels is Newfoundland, 34 per cent higher; British Columbia and Manitoba, 31 per cent, and Quebec, 23 per cent above.
Home Ownership Isn't For All
....“We’re no different from Americans, that’s for sure,” says John Cocomile, a broker with GreedyMortgage.com in Toronto. He says of 100 first-time homebuyers he arranged mortgages for in the past three years, 95 of them took the longest amortizations possible. “Generally homeowners are not conservative. They want the most they can get.” Some of those clients are now living hand-to-mouth, Mr. Cocomile says. And he worries that when interest rates correct upwards, as they inevitably will, they’ll be underwater. “I think there’s a lot of homeowners who probably shouldn’t be homeowners.... There’s a lot of teetering right now.” Those who have acknowledged they are on the edge are seeking the help of counsellors like Laurie Campbell, executive director of Credit Canada. She notes that the average Canadian with a credit profile owes $1.48 for every dollar they make in disposable income, the highest debt-to-earnings-power ratio on record. And she says mismanagement of personal finances remains rampant.