Saturday, October 27, 2012

Media notes R/E groups attempting to "calm fears of a local housing crash"

On Thursday we told you how the media was filled with economists and 'experts' who were now predicting that prices will, in fact drop, but will do so by a moderate level that does not resemble the U.S. crash.

The purpose of all these ascertains? Preventing panic. A fact the Vancouver Sun noted yesterday:
Greater Vancouver will see home sales tumble by one-fifth this year, but the market should rebound in 2013, the B.C. Real Estate Association says in its new forecast as the group moves to calm fears of a local housing crash.
It is exactly those types of fears which are encouraging sellers to accept 75 cents on the dollar for properties (examples of which we have profiled over the past couple of weeks).

Of course the sellers aren't actually taking only 75 cents/dollar on their real estate.  Most bought before the big blow-up of the bubble during the 00's and they are still enjoying a large capital gain.  They just see the writing on the wall and are cashing out while there are still profits to be realized.

And those signs are everywhere.

Vancouver movers are reporting stiff declines in business due to the falling real estate market and the slowdown is effecting a broad segment of society:
Tradesmen, Builders and Craftsmen, worry about the later half of 2012 and the speculation around the slow down of the Vancouver Real Estate Market... Competitively priced houses are now sitting on the market for an average of 5 to 7 months. 
Scott Moe of RE/MAX says: "All across the board people are saying how slow it is out there. I have 24 listings right now and only had 4 showings on the weekend!" The slow down of BC's real estate industry extends well beyond just builders and realtors. Many local businesses are affected by slow real estate sales.
Which is why early signs of panic are now starting to pop up.

And there signs of more problems ahead.

Concerns are spreading through the Chinese media with headlines that: “All Canadian banks will introduce new mortgage rules by November 1st, 2012”What will those new rules entail?
All-Canadian banks and financial institutions will start on the 1st of next month to take up increased tightening housing mortgage measures. There will be new rules for those without sufficient proof of income documents.  This will include the self-employed who will only be able to obtain no more than 65% of the mortgage property value in their loans. Prior to the implementation of the new requirements, some banks allowed self-employed people up to 75-80% of property values in a mortgage. 
Mortgage experts believe that the new measures will have the greatest impact on new immigrants.
As one contributor on VCI noted (hat tip VMD), the OSFI will require lenders to limit maximum LTV ratios of “nonconforming residential mortgages” (eg. Self-employed without adequate income verification) to 65%, meaning the borrowers will need to put 35% up as a down payment.

New immigrants will be impacted due to inadequate income documentation, which looks at average income of the last 2 years. - (Previously new immigrants were required to put down 30% DP) - 

HELOC LTV limitations will be implemented by Nov 1st as well.

In other words, the saviour of wealthy Asians buying our overvalued property at prices high above what local incomes can support is about to take another big hit.

Combine that with tightening regulations on what entry level buyers can now overspend on greasing the property ladder at the entry levels and you have a recipe for even steeper declines.

Perhaps that's why a Winnipeg real estate agent is now running this ad (hat tip Makaya):


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  1. Words of wisdom from Ludwig Von Mises as noted the other day on the Chris Martenson site....

    "There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner, as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later, as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved".

    It is clear to me that the route the Government has chosen is voluntary abandonment of credit expansion through the auspices of OSFI, regulatory changes and a refusal to expand the credit limits of CMHC. This is the correct choice but it will certainly bring some pain. Judging by the experience of Spain and others, the slowdown in the economy that we will suffer is far preferable to the economic collapse others are enduring. The entreaties of the real estate organizations should therefore be ignored. They are not speaking in the interests of the people of Canada nor of the retail economy. Even the obvious prospects of pending and future jobs losses need to be ignored. These are an anticipated outcome of self imposed restraint and withdrawal from a false growth model. In the long run we will all be better off for having taken our medicine if we want to maintain a strong bouyant economy into the future.


  2. I saw a new sign the other day: "Win a car if you purchase this house."

    The scam is that anyone who buys from this particular real estate office (don't know how many agents), during the month, is 'entered' to win a car.

    Just buy a lottery ticket already. It would be a lot cheaper than working 25 years to pay off an oversized mortgage just for a 'chance' to win some clunker they are trying to give away.

    1. Especially since some developments (one in Richmond comes to mind) are offering a new car with the purchase of every townhouse.

      No draw, no doubt about whether or not you will get one, you GET a car when you purchase the townhouse.

      Why would an 'entry' for a car lottery even appeal in this milieu?

    2. It may be that everyone "wins" in that contest...

  3. Cartel will do or say what ever it takes lotsa dough at stake.

    1. And lotsa D'oh (!) for the buyer too.

  4. You have to take both sides with a grain of salt. The media is incentived to paint a bleaker picture, just as the real estate associations are driven to speak with rose colored glasses on. The truth is closer to the middle.

    1. What incentive is there for the media to paint a bleaker picture? The media is funded by the RE industry.


  5. What colour is BS with rose colored glasses on, does it smell different?

  6. ascertains ->assertions