Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Market update from wesellvancouver
Market update from wesellvancouver
Conditions continue to favour buyers in the Greater Vancouver housing market
The summer of 2012 drew to a close in September with home sale activity well below historical averages in the Greater Vancouver housing market.
September sales were 41.6 per cent below the 10-year September sales average of 2,597.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,321 in September. This represents a 6.3 per cent decline compared to September 2011 when 5,680 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and a 31.6 per cent increase compared to the 4,044 new listings in August 2012.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Home sellers continue to outnumber buyers in Greater Vancouver’s summer housing market
Home sale activity remained below long-term averages in the Greater Vancouver housing market in August.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 1,649 in August, a 30.7 per cent decline compared to the 2,378 sales in August 2011 and a 21.4 per cent decline compared to the 2,098 sales in July 2012.
August sales were the second lowest total for the month in the region since 1998 and 39.2 per cent below the 10-year August sales average of 2,711.
"Home sales this summer have been lower than we’ve seen for most of the past ten years, yet we continue to see relative stability when it comes to prices," Eugen Klein, REBGV president said.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 4,044 in August. This represents a 13.7 per cent decline compared to August 2011 when 4,685 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and a 15.8 per cent decline compared to the 4,802 new listings in July 2012.
"For sellers it’s critical to work with your REALTOR® to understand today’s market and to develop the best strategy for selling your home," Klein said. "On average it’s taking about two months for a home to sell on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver today."
At 17,567, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 13.8 per cent from this time last year and declined 2.8 per cent compared to July 2012.
"Today, our sales-to-active-listings ratio sits at 9 per cent, which puts us in a buyer’s market. This ratio has been declining in our market since March when it was 19 per cent," Klein said.
The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver is $609,500. This represents a decline of 0.5% compared to this time last year and a decline of 1.1% compared to last month.
Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in August 2012 reached 624, a decrease of 38.8 per cent from the 1,020 detached sales recorded in August 2011, and a 30.1 per cent decrease from the 893 units sold in August 2010. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 0.2 per cent from August 2011 to $942,100.
Sales of apartment properties reached 725 in August 2012, a 24.1 per cent decrease compared to the 955 sales in August 2011, and a decrease of 22.5 per cent compared to the 935 sales in August 2010. The benchmark price of an apartment property decreased 0.9 per cent from August 2011 to $370,100.
Attached property sales in August 2012 totalled 300, a 25.6 per cent decrease compared to the 403 sales in August 2011, and a 19.8 per cent decrease from the 374 attached properties sold in August 2010. The benchmark price of an attached unit decreased 1.9 per cent between August 2011 and 2012 to $462,300.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Home sales decline in Vancouver, but surge in rest of BC
The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that the dollar volume of homes sold through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC declined 12.9 per cent to $3.1 billion in July compared to the same month last year. A total of 6,482 MLS® residential unit sales were recorded over the same period, down 0.8 per cent from July 2011. The average MLS® residential price was $474,954, 12.2 per cent lower than a year ago.
"While some potential homebuyers in Vancouver are taking a breather over the summer months, stronger consumer demand continues across the rest of the province," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. MLS® residential unit sales outside of Vancouver were up 11 per cent in July over a year ago. In contrast, home sales through the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver were down 18 per cent over the same period.
Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume declined 16.5 per cent to $23.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales dipped 7.9 per cent to 44,794 units, while the average MLS® residential price was 9.4 per cent lower at $525,183.
Article from British Columbia Real Estate Association, August 14th 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
July 2012 Market Stats
The Greater Vancouver housing market saw further reduction in buyer demand last month. Residential property sales totalled 2,098 on greater Vancouver’s Multiple Listing Service in July; this is a decline of 18% compared to July 2011 and 31% below the ten year sales average for the month. This total amounts to the lowest selling July in our market since 2000.
Home sellers listed just over 4,800 properties for sale in Greater Vancouver in July. This is a decline of just about 15% from June. It represents the lowest total of any new listings for any month so far this year. There are just under 18,100 properties currently listed on our MLS, that’s a 2% decrease from last month and about a 19% decrease over last year.
Today our sales to active listings ratio sits at 11%, which places us in the upper end of a buyer’s market. In a buyer’s market purchasers typically have more selection to choose from and more time to make decisions. Generally analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips around the 10-12% mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches the 20-22% range for a sustained period of time.
The MLS HPI benchmark price for all residential properties in the region is currently $616,000, that’s an increase of less than 1% compared to July 2011. However, we have seen slight reductions in home prices over the last 3 months.
Market Stats from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Bank of Canada stands pat, cautions on Europe
The Bank of Canada kept its trend-setting Bank Rate at 1.25 per cent on June 5th, 2012. It was the 14th consecutive policy meeting in which borrowing costs have been left unchanged.
While the text accompanying the announcement left the door open to future rate hikes, the language used was considerably less hawkish than in the previous announcement in April as the Bank sounded a cautious tone over the recent deterioration of the situation in Europe.
The announcement begins, “The outlook for global economic growth has weakened in recent weeks. Some of the risks around the European crisis are materializing and risks remain skewed to the downside. This is leading to a sharp deterioration in global financial conditions.”
The Bank also noted that while the U.S. economy was continuing to expand, albeit modestly, emerging economies were slowing faster and a bit more broadly than expected. That more modest global momentum combined with heightened financial risk aversion has led to lower commodity prices, which is weighing on Canadian exports.
Canadian economic growth was slower than the Bank expected in the first quarter of the year, 1.9 per cent compared to a projected 2.5 per cent; however, underlying economic momentum remains in line with expectations.
That said, the composition of growth has become less balanced. Specifically, housing activity has been stronger than the Bank had been expecting, and despite external risks, business and household confidence has remained resilient amid very stimulative domestic financial conditions.
In contrast, the contribution to growth from government spending is expected to be quite modest going forward in line with recent federal and provincial budgets. Additionally, the recovery in net exports is likely to remain weak in light of the combination of reduced external demand and ongoing competitiveness challenges, including the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar.
The Bank said the Canadian economy continues to operate with a small degree of excess capacity, and that even though headline CPI inflation was expected to fall below 2 per cent in the short term due to lower gasoline prices, the core rate inflation was expected to remain around the target 2 per cent mark.
The announcement ended by reiterating that, to the extent that the economic expansion continues and the current excess supply in the economy is gradually absorbed, the possibility of a rate hike was not completely off the table, but that the timing and degree of any such action would depend heavily upon how current heightened downside risks play out in the months ahead.
As of June 5th 2012, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 5.34 per cent. This is down 0.1 percentage points from 5.44 per cent on April 17th, when the Bank made its previous policy interest rate announcement.
The Bank will make its next scheduled rate announcement on July 17th, 2012
Artice from Canadian Real Estate Association, June 5th, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
Spring Activity Remains Balanced in the Greater Vancouver Housing Market
The number of properties listed for sale continued to increase in the Greater Vancouver housing market in May. The number of sales decreased year over year, but remained relatively constant compared to recent months.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,853 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in May 2012. This represents a 15.5 per cent decline compared to the 3,377 sales recorded in May 2011.
May sales were the lowest total for the month in the region since 2001 and 21.1 per cent below the 10-year May sales average of 3,617. However, sales have been constant throughout the spring months, with 2,874 sales in March and 2,799 sales in April.
“Home sellers have outpaced buyers in recent months, however, there continues to be an overall balance between supply and demand in our marketplace,” Eugen Klein, REBGV president said.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 6,927 in May 2012. This represents a 16.8 per cent increase compared to May 2011 when 5,931 homes were listed for sale and a 14.4 per cent increase compared to April 2012 when 6,056 homes were listed for sale on the region’s MLS®.
Last month’s new listing total was 15.3 per cent above the 10-year average for listings in Greater Vancouver for May.
At 17,835, the total number of homes listed for sale on the region’s MLS® increased 7.9 per cent in May compared to last month and increased 21 per cent from this time last year.
“Our sales-to-active-listing ratio sits at 16 per cent, which is indicative of balanced market conditions,” Klein said. “As a result of this stability, home prices at the regional level have seen little fluctuation over the last six month.”
The MLS® HPI benchmark price* for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver currently sits at $625,100, up 3.3 per cent compared to May 2011 and up 2.4 per cent over the last three months. The benchmark price for all residential properties in the Lower Mainland** is $558,300, which is a 3 per cent increase compared to May 2011 and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to three months ago.
Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in May 2012 reached 1,180, a decline of 24.8 per cent from the 1,570 detached sales recorded in May 2011, and a 6.1 per cent decrease from the 1,256 units sold in May 2010. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 5.1 per cent from May 2011 to $967,500.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,156 in May 2012, a decline of 5.9 per cent compared to the 1,228 sales in May 2011, and a decrease of 14.6 per cent compared to the 1,354 sales in May 2010.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 1.7 per cent from May 2011 to $379,700.
Townhome property sales in May 2012 totalled 517, a decline of 10.7 per cent compared to the 579 sales in May 2011, and a 5.3 per cent decrease from the 546 townhome properties sold in May 2010. The benchmark price of a townhome unit increased 0.9 per cent between May 2011 and 2012 to $470,000.
Article from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, June 4, 2012, available online at http://www.rebgv.org/news-statistics/spring-activity-remains-balanced-greater-vancouver-housing-market-0
Monday, June 4, 2012
Home price trends continue to diverge in April
According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the MLS® Home Price Index, the leading measure of Canadian home prices, increased in April 2012.
The MLS®Home Price Index (MLS®HPI) rose 5.2 per cent year-over-year in April 2012. The increase was similar to those for the previous two months and among the smallest since last August. However, the moderation in overall price gains in recent months masks diverging trends among the major Canadian markets.
In April, the MLS® HPI again posted the largest year-over-year increase in Toronto (7.9%), followed by Calgary (4.0%), Vancouver (3.7%), the Fraser Valley (2.7%), and Montreal (2.3%).
Year-over-year price growth in Greater Vancouver slowed markedly in April and moderated in the nearby Fraser Valley. By contrast, Montreal — a market that tends towards more stable price growth — saw a small uptick in line with the aggregate index.
Toronto’s price index accelerated for the second straight month, consistent with its market balance where negotiations continue to favour the seller. Calgary is also now seeing prices begin to advance in earnest, supported by a strong economic outlook, recent gains in in-migration, and strong full-time job growth.
“Canadian home price gains are generally expected to moderate, but there are a few hot spots where prices are being fuelled by some very strong housing market fundamentals,” said Wayne Moen, CREA’s President. “Toronto has less than two months of supply compared to six months nationally, so it ranks among the tightest of Canadian housing markets. With prices moderating in some housing markets and bucking the trend in others, buyers and sellers should talk to their local REALTOR® to best understand how home price trends are evolving where they live. ”
Among the different housing types tracked by the index, single family homes again posted the biggest year-over-year gains in April (6.4%), led by two-storey single family homes (6.9%). The MLS® HPI for one-storey single family homes rose 5.6 per cent from April 2011, while townhouses and apartments saw gains of 3.6 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively.
“Just as there are some pretty clear differences emerging across markets right now, there have also been some interesting developments in price trends across housing types,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “The one that really stood out in April was accelerating price growth for the townhouse segment right across the board. In Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, it was the only segment in which prices gains accelerated.”
Excerpt from MLS News Release, The Canadian Real Estate Association, May 25th, 2012
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
May Market Statistics for Vancouver Market
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - from the desk of AMALIA LIAPIS
The political elections in Europe went as expected, the parties who promised MORE won but it is doubtful they will be able to keep most of their promises as they are so far in debt that there is simply no more to give. Markets worldwide went down as the reality of the results sunk in, more instability & market volatility over the next few months. Hollande, the new President of France, is already making his presence felt & could put the Franco-German relationship under threat. The last socialist president of France, Mitterand, nationalized the Banks & imposed a wealth tax. Hollande has already stated he will introduce a 75% tax on the wealthy, so maybe the banks are next. The wealthy are usually the wealth makers so they will leave France like they have done previously & like they have done in other countries when overtaxed. I seem to remember the Beatles leaving England after they were given an award in the Queen’s Honors list for bringing in so much foreign money in from their records sales etc. Then the Government introduced a wealth tax that sent the Beatles & most other high earning entertainers overseas; some never to return.
Greece appears to be in total confusion with no clear winner & this could result in further decline of Greek prospects of recovery. It was hopeless anyway. Rating agencies are still closely looking at the sovereign & bank risks in Europe. I believe we should expect further downgrades in Spain, France & Greece.
So what about our Vancouver Real Estate market?! Well to begin with we are still awaiting the Finance Minister to introduce an incentive package for First Time Buyers of New Condos. Developers screamed loud enough with the HST issue that this package looks like it might just become reality. It is expected to get voted around June 2012 and is only available until March/April 2013. This will help the new condo market.
I’ve been saying it for a couple of years now…Gastown is the favourite neighbourhood to live in…not a lot of product and what comes up for sale is usually gone quickly. The downtown condo market will remain steady though out the summer with an emphasis on the entry level purchases. Westside homes continue to be active with steady activity in the $5million and up market. Price and location will bring immediate results but the general market is still price sensitive...off by $10,000 or $20,000 and there will be little interest from Buyers. It’s still a buyer’s market overall but have to say the available inventory is rather average.
As always I am available for any questions.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
April Market Statistics for Vancouver Market
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - From the desk of AMALIA LIAPIS
About 3 weeks ago I noticed a change in the Vancouver market – things went relatively quiet.
Looking forward into the summer I predict the general market will continue that trend. What that means is that there will continue to be moderate activity overall. The properties that are receiving the most amount of attention are homes on the East Side of Vancouver in the $1,000,000 range (and yes this is considered good value). Any property; house, townhome or apartment that is on waterfront (or with a great view) and priced well is getting immediate attention. Vancouver West homes from $3,000,000 and up are selling steadily. But it all comes down to price so if the property has any shortcomings then an adjustment in price will be needed to gain a buyers interest.
World activities have had an effect on the real estate markets as well. Recent manufacturing data out of China indicates that the economy is still contracting, however at a slower rate than previously expected. The political problems in Europe continue to surface as seen in the resignation of the Dutch cabinet over night & the weekend’s French election result. These events together with some weaker economic data saw the European markets tumble & Bond rates rose. The sovereignty risk rose in Greece, Spain & Italy when government control was weakened through political unrest. The Dutch problem arose last week when Fitch said it would put Holland (AAA) on ratings review if the government failed to take action to cut their budget deficit & stop their debt from rising. Now Holland will head to elections, earlier than expected, after 7 weeks of negotiations among the ruling coalition parties on budget cuts of Euro 14billion collapsed on Saturday. The Dutch economy is feeling the pinch including a housing market slump. Sounds familiar. Greece, Ireland & Spain revisited? Italy & Portugal?
Most European countries are living well above their means, especially those with pensions, welfare & unemployment benefits. Those earning incomes don’t want earn less through paying more tax in order to help keep these benefit payments at the same level. Who is going to pay? There is no short term fix & so far the decisions made amount to just kicking a can down the road. The debt remains as long as the will to reduce it to manageable levels falls into the political too hard basket. One step at a time, Europe will unravel. The first step could come from the French as they desert their president Nicolsas Sarkozy for a socialist government who would not cooperate with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in keeping Europe afloat. Sarkozy & Merkel have been the glue to keep the Euro together as most other leaders have only been interested in their own problems.
US reporting season continues & this is going well but not standout unless you are one of the favored Tech companies like Apple & Microsoft. GE & McDonalds were also better than expected. Investors have been disappointed with some of the Banks & some of the guidance given for future quarters. Despite its debt worries, the US market has outperformed the ASX thanks to QE1 & QE2.
Overall it’s the worry about Europe that keeps the US market on its toes. Everybody seems to be watching someone in today’s market & just shows what a small world we live in.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Greater Vancouver housing market trends near long-term averages as spring market approaches
Closer alignment between home buyer and seller activity helped to bring greater balance to the Greater Vancouver housing market in February.
March 12, 2012 REBGV Article available online at http://www.rebgv.org/news-statistics/greater-vancouver-housing-market-trends-near-long-term-averages-spring-market
Monday, March 12, 2012
Canada ranks in middle on global real estate froth scale
Where Canada stands
Canada ranks "in the middle of the pack" on the global real estate froth scale, Bank of Nova Scotia says in a new look at housing markets around the world.
"The global housing boom which began in the mid- to late-1990s and extended through the mid- to late-2000s was notable in its breadth, strength and longevity," economist Adrienne Warren says, and has taken different paths across different markets. Ms. Warren tracked inflation-adjusted prices in 12 advanced economies. In Japan and Germany, prices declined. In four markets - the United States, Britain, Ireland and Spain - average prices have plunged markedly from their peaks. And in six - Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland - prices remain in record territory or close to it. On average, a cycle of rising prices was 12 years. Italy saw the shortest, at eight years, and Ireland and Sweden the highest at 15. Canada's boom has run for 13 years.
"Based on cumulative price increases since the start of their respective cycles, the U.S. real estate market appears the least overvalued, with average prices having reverted back to mid-1990s levels," Ms. Warren said of the country most cited for the housing crash. She found "little evidence" of marked overvaluation in Switzerland and Italy, at about 30 per cent over the cycle, and counted Ireland, Sweden and Britain as the most overvalued, at between 130 per cent and 150 per cent. "Canada falls in the middle of the pack, with inflation-adjusted average home prices rising 83 per cent since 1998. The relatively smaller cumulative price increase compared with some of the frothiest markets reflects in part a later takeoff. Canada residential real estate boom started several years after many of its counterparts, with the economy still feeling the effects of the deep recession of the early 1990s and a weak labour market recovery through mid-decade. "Canada's housing market has been cooling, though few see a melt down in the works.
According to new projections from the Canadian Real Estate Association today, home sales in Canada are expected to inch up this year and dip next, while prices slip this year and rise in 2013. National numbers in each case are skewed by Ontario and Vancouver, respectively. "Risks to the Canadian economic outlook remain elevated owing to the European sovereign debt quagmire, but the continuation of low interest rates is the silver lining," the group's chief economist, Gregory Klump, said in the new report today. "So long as the European debt crisis is contained and a global economic recession avoided, low interest rates will support Canadian home sales and prices. Recent trends are reassuring, but interest rates remaining low for longer will doubtless keep the Canadian housing market under scrutiny for signs of overheating. "CREA forecast sales will climb 0.3 per cent this year to 458,800 on better demand in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, but slip by the same percentage, to 457,200, in 2013. However, all provinces but Ontario will see "modest gains" next year.
National average prices have spiked on sales of rich properties in Vancouver, but CREA said that won't likely happen again this year. Thus, the national average is projected to slip 1.1 per cent to $359,100 this year, and rise 0.9 per cent in 2013 to $362,300. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said today he's still concerned about the condo market, but that housing overall has moderated.
Economists paint rosier view
Canada's finance minister got an upbeat forecast today from private sector economists, who predict his government will have more revenue coming in over the next few years thanks to increased stability in Europe and better-than-expected U.S. growth. It was only a few months ago that the same group of economists were urging Jim Flaherty to pad Ottawa's books with prudence in case the global economy worsened, The Globe and Mail's Bill Curry reports.
China cuts forecast
China has cut its forecast for economic growth for the first time in seven years, though economists don't actually accept the new numbers and aren't rushing to rejig their own projections. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao unveiled the new growth target today at the opening of the National People's Congress, Carolynne Wheeler reports from Beijing, trimming it to 7.5 per cent from 8 per cent, a move that sparked some concern. Economists say "growth stability" is the primary focus for Beijing, and generally believe the economy will perform above the official target. "Of course, to what extent this means anything sustainable going forward depends upon the success with which Chinese authorities are able to engineer such a soft landing," said Derek Holt and Dov Zigler of Scotia Capital. "In that context, note that Chinese growth has often overshot the 8-per-cent target that has been in place since 2005. In fact, only one year 2008 came in lower than the target as all other years since recorded growth of 9.8 per cent to 11.2 per cent. So much for targets. What it does signal, however, is that market expectations for further policy easing by way of cuts to required reserve ratios and/or fiscal stimulus through large pump-priming outlays should be held to a moderate slant."
Markets eye Greek bond swap
Markets are watching developments in Greece - again - as Athens nears results of the "voluntary" debt swap that could yet again determine its fate. Thursday marks the deadline for private bondholders to agree to the exchange of debt, part of a sweeping plan to to ease its debt crisis. Athens needs 75 per cent to agree, but has targeted 90 per cent. Standard Poor's has already decided Greece is in "selective default" after changing the terms of some payments through what are known as collective action clauses, or CACs. And last week, a key industry body, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, found Greece had not defaulted. "The worst scenario is one where Greece fails to even meet the threshold for introducing CACs so the whole deal falls apart," said currency strategist Elsa Lignos of RBC in London. "But for CACs to become binding, just 50 per cent of the face value needs to register and of those 2/3 need to consent to the CACs.
Given that Greece holds the voting rights to debt previously held by the [European Central Bank] and is assured co-operation from Greek banks and funds, that is a low threshold to meet. The most likely scenario is take-up that exceeds 75 per cent but doesn't reach the target 90 per cent, with Greece using CACs to force the holdouts. "Several major institutions said today they would agree.
EU to act on board glass ceiling
The European Union is eyeing measures, such as quotas, to increase the number of women on corporate boards. A report by the European Commission released today shows what the group called "limited progress" a year after Justice Minister Viviane Reding urged companies to adopt self-regulatory moves. According to the report, women account for only on in seven directors at Europe's major companies. While that's up marginally from 2010, the EC said, "it would still take more than 40 years to reach a significant gender balance (at least 40 per cent of both sexes) at this rate. "Gender balance at top levels lead to better performance, the group said, and it launched a consultation program as to what measures it could take that will run until May 28. Then it will make a decision.
The true north strong (at least one of us) and free
The idea of Iceland adopting the Canadian dollar isn’t as nutsy as it might seem to some.
Indeed, says Justin Wolfers, a prominent U.S. economist, if Iceland really wants to do it, Canada should go for it. And if we don't, maybe the Aussies will. It also appears there's nothing to stop the Icelanders from doing it on their own, by the way. The suggestion, which has been tossed around in some quarters in Iceland over the past several months, picked up steam late last week when Canada ambassador to the tiny nation, Alan Bones, said Ottawa is open to talking about it if Iceland makes the request. What we know the nature of the final agreement is will depend very much on the expectations of both countries, Mr. Bones told a broadcast interviewer in Iceland. But in a straightforward unilateral adoption of the Canadian dollar by Iceland, where it is clear that there's no input into monetary policy, then we'd be certainly open to discussing the issue. Mr. Bones had actually prepared to take it further, and was planning to deliver a similar message Saturday to a conference on Iceland currency, the krona. But, as The Globe and Mail's Barrie McKenna reported, Canada Foreign Affairs and International Trade Department pulled the plug at the last minute.
Coincidentally, that happened just a few hours after my colleague story was published online, picked up by other media and flashed around the world via Twitter. Canadian officials said Ottawa won't talk about the currencies of other countries (though that didn't seem to be an issue when the G7 intervened to stem a surge in the yen a year ago) and that it wouldn't have been right to make such comments at a political event, in this case one held by Iceland's opposition Progressive Party. I agree it wasn't the venue for it, particularly given that Iceland's government is officially preparing to join the 17-member euro zone, but it does seem clear that someone somewhere has been talking about this. It's highly unlikely that Mr. Bones went rogue. Iceland, of course, was the original poster child of the meltdown, suffering a banking collapse, an economic mess and capital controls.
An independent currency for a country with the population of the size of a decently sized Canadian city was always going to be a problem, said Sebastien Galy, senior currency strategist at SocitGrale. Having that country run a financial bubble while offering very high yield was a recipe for a very rapid rise of a financial empire followed by a catastrophic collapse, with the currency ceasing to have a market at one point. The past few years have been of picking up the broken pieces, and a move to a new currency would help to bring credibility while forcing adjustments in internal prices. Should that new currency be the loonie, as it's known in Canada, which is actually a coin rather than a bill? While both currencies share some commonality with their exposures to energy and commodities, it is a reaction to the government negotiating and preparing for the eventual introduction of the [euro], Mr. Galy said of the weekend discussion in the opposition camp. Neither currency is optimal for this country and it is atug of war between Iceland's European and more independent Nordic roots.
Mr. Wolfers thinks the Australian dollar would be a better fit for Iceland. But from Canada's perspective, it would be a no- brainer,the associate professor of business and public policy at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania told me. Honestly, other countries should compete with Canada for Iceland's business,” said Mr. Wolfers, also a visiting fellow at Princeton, citing Australia in particular. This followed his comments Friday on Twitter, to which Australian MP Andrew Leigh, a former economics professor, responded that, indeed, Iceland would be better off adopting the Aussie dollar. So maybe we can get a competition going. Mr. Wolfers was referring to what is known as seigniorage, which is how Canada could benefit should Iceland actually ever ditch the krona for the loonie. I'm not talking about a currency union here, just Iceland using the loonie.
Here are five things to consider:
This is the biggie, if a bit complex.
Seigniorage is the difference between the cost of printing a currency and its value. As the Bank of Canada explains it, it's the difference between the interest the central bank reaps on a portfolio of government securities, in turn basically the same amount as the value of outstanding bank notes, and what it costs to issue, distribute and replace the bills. On its website, the central bank uses the example of a $20 bill, which has an average lifespan of three years and is the most commonly used. If it invests the proceeds of issuing that note in a government security that yields interest of 5 per cent, the bill yields $1 a year. Producing that bill costs 9 cents. Given the three-year lifespan, it costs an average of 3 cents a year to produce the note. Add 2 cents a year to distribute it, and the annual cost is 5 cents, which means revenue for the central bank of about 95 cents a year for each $20 bill that’s out there. More than $50-billion has been circulating at any given time, though that can and does change.
Generally, the central bank says, it reaps about $2-billion a year. Some is used for general expenses - $366-million in 2009 – and the rest goes to government coffers. Given Iceland's small size its population is just 320,000 and the fact that its people have embraced electronic banking, we're not talking about a seigniorage windfall here. But Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is looking to get his hands on whatever he can. Printing money is a good thing for Canada, Mr. Wolfers said. Every dollar in circulation is on the debit side of the central bank's balance sheet, and they're effectively borrowing from the Icelanders at a zero-per-cent interest rate.
So if there are no strings attached, why not? Or, as Mr. Wolfers put it, referring to Iceland, as long as you're a bastard, it's all profit.
2. A stable currency
Iceland could of course benefit from a devalued currency. Instead it would get a strong, stable currency that has been something of a haven during this post-crisis period of uncertainty. While strong, exporters at least know what to expect. Consider, too, that the Canadian dollar is liquid. The krona was "blasted through smithereens and very few banks can trade [it] in anything else than very small amounts," Mr. Galy noted. The dollar has been hovering around par with its U.S. counterpart and is expected to remain there, at least through the end of this year.
I'm not sure Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty would agree, but Mr. Galy believes that the Bank of Canada has held interest rates below where they should be to hold the loonie down and give exporters more time to adjust to the currencys strength. So that's at least something for Iceland if you take that view. This soft approach means that capital may be increasingly misallocated at too low a rate (e.g. potentially housing),” he said. The more German approach, familiar to many German communities in Canada, is to get down and fix the productivity issue, irrespective of any short-term pain. There is a fine balance between the easy and hard way, we must all tackle whether in Iceland, Europe or Canada.”
3. Respected central bank
Iceland would of course have no say in monetary policy, but it would have a currency overseen by a very strong central bank and governor, who led Canada out of the recession admirably. Mark Carney is also respected on the global stage, having recently been named to head up the Financial Stability Board. "Dear Canada: If Iceland wants you rather than their own inept central bank to earn their seigniorage, accept the deal," Mr. Wolfers said on Twitter.
4. Fiscal, economic stability
Iceland has no reputation in the wake of its banking collapse. Who would you prefer at that point, a euro zone crippled by recession and a two-year-old debt crisis, or Canada? With Canada, you get a stable, if lukewarm, economic outlook, a government that’s still rated triple-A, and a fiscal standing to die for (if you're Greece or Portugal). And, we can count.
5. Our glowing hearts
For Iceland, do not underestimate friendship in this post-crisis era of currency manipulation and mounting trade tensions. We're a wonderful people, they're a wonderful people. We've got a beautiful country, they've got a beautiful country. True, it gets cold in Canada in the winter, but remember we're talking about Iceland. And surely we can forgive them for Bjork. (A colleague quipped today that he wondered whether Bjprk could qualify as Canadian content, or Cancon, should the adoption of the loonie ever take place. So he asked about it, even though it began as a joke. She wouldn't. She'd need to meet two of four criteria, even if totally financed with Canadian dollars. As in, she'd hypothetically have to cover a Tragically Hip number in Canada, or her track would have to be produced by a Canadian like Daniel Lanois. Without that, the Icelandic star is still Icelandic under Canada's rules.
What to watch for this week
The Bank of Canada is back at the table with its policy meeting of the year and an announcement Thursday. No change is expected in the central bank's benchmark rate of 1 per cent. "With investors paring the odds of both a U.S. recession and euro zone train wreck, the odds of an interim bank rate cut have not surprisingly dwindled," said Peter Buchanan of CIBC World Markets. "That said, the last thing Governor Carney wants is to add to the currency’s tailwinds and manufacturers' competitive woes, with the loonie back at five-month highs on triple-digit crude. Look for a cautious statement consequently that stresses continuing global financial risks along with the ongoing dangers of an overvalued currency. "The European Central Bank and Bank of England also meet Thursday. A day later, markets will turn their attention to the key issue of unemployment in both Canada and the United States.
Economists largely expect Statistics Canada's jobs report to show about 15,000 jobs were created in February, and the unemployment rate remained stuck at 7.6 per cent. In the United States, where the labour market has made surprising gains recently, observers expect to see a reading of more than 200,000 jobs, with the jobless rate holding at 8.3 per cent. "We don't anticipate a further rise in the jobless rate, but we also don’t look for a break from the recent lacklustre pace of job growth either," deputy chief economist Douglas Porter of BMO Nesbitt Burns said of the Canadian report. "Mild weather will support some sectors (retail, construction, transportation), but could weigh on others (recreation)." In the markets, earnings are slowing down, but some biggies remain, notably Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Dorel Industries Inc. and Viterra Inc., among others, which report throughout the week.
March 5, 2012 Globe and Mail Update by Michael Babad, available online at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/canada-ranks-in-middle-on-global-real-estate-froth-scale/article2359069/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Home&utm_content=2359069
Monday, January 30, 2012
CANADA - NOTING THE POSITIVES, BUT ALSO THE RISKS
Economists often get a bad rap for seeing the world as exclusively a glass half empty. Given this reputation, it is not surprising that economics is dubbed the ‘dismal science.’ Still, they are also known to call a spade a spade when they see it. We must do just this when we say that the Canadian economy ended last year on a more positive note than they had last predicted. This momentum represents a solid hand-off into 2012. What’s more, financial markets so far this year have enjoyed the absence of volatility that was the dominant theme for 2011.
The latest tracking shows the Canadian economy grew by 2.0-2.5% in the fourth quarter annualized an upside from most banks December forecast. An important part of the story has been Canadian consumers. We saw evidence of this in the retail sales’ numbers for November. They grew month-over-month by 0.3% in real terms and an even stronger 0.5% in nominal terms. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday increasingly becoming important calendar events on this side of the border, retailers were hoping to capitalize on greater mall traffic as consumers stocked up for the holiday season. We will have to wait and see if November’s gain comes at a cost to December. However, data so far suggest that there is an upside risk to our consumer expenditure forecast for the fourth quarter of 2011. The 2012 economic outlook should also be helped by higher consumer and business sentiment.
Also this week, the U.S. Federal Reserve injected further monetary stimulus into its economy by telling markets and investors that it plans to keep its interest rates at near-zero levels until late 2014, or eighteen months longer than was previously stated. In the fallout of the announcement, U.S. and Canadian bond yields fell across the curve. In terms of currency, the loonie reached parity with the U.S. dollar yesterday for the first time since November 2011.
Business investment is expected to be a bright spot in the outlook given the low borrowing conditions and strong currency. The forecast is that Canadians will continue to spend, creating positive pressure for the domestic side of our national forecast. This spending behaviour does not come without repercussions. Canadian households are already posting record debt levels. What’s more, the longer low rates persist, the more difficult it will be to reverse course. If consumers continue to spur heightened real estate activity as well, there could be a larger and steeper correction for the housing market than the 10-15% that has been incorporated into various forecasts over the next few years in certain parts of Canada, but there will be an increase in values in other areas; like Downtown Vancouver and notably commercial real estate in neighbourhoods like Gastown, Chinatown, and the Downtown Eastside Harbour front. Given where this note has ended, perhaps it’s true that economists cannot say sunny and rosy for too long. At the same time, it’s prudent to constantly look for risks, such that there are no surprises if they come to materialize.
Excerpt from January 2012 Action Forex article by TD Bank Financial Group, available online at http://www.actionforex.com/analysis/weekly-forex-fundamentals/the-weekly-bottom-line-20120128158365/
Monday, January 23, 2012
2012 MARKET FORECAST
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – From the desk of Amalia Liapis
2012 MARKET FORECAST
As we move forward into 2012, the year of the Dragon, I thought it helpful to review some global activity that will have a measurable effect on our local real estate market.
China’s fourth quarter gross domestic product (GDP) rose 8.9% from a year earlier, beating analysts’ expectations of 8.6% growth. For the full year of 2011, China’s GDP rose by 9.2% compared to a 10.4% rise in 2010. It always amazes me how China can produce statistics so quickly but market analysts are always skeptical on how accurate the data is out of China as there is no way to reliably check the accuracy.
USA reporting season is in full swing for the December quarter and results here will direct US and world markets over the next few weeks. The US still has the world’s largest economy and, while it has slowed, guidance from the corporate world during reporting season will give a better idea of future recovery. Again the next two weeks will be vital here, but so far so good. Economic data has been better than expected and this has been reflected in the US equities market now at five month highs. This is the year for the Presidential elections, so we can expect to see lots of big promises from both parties that should also help equity markets and real estate activity.
Europe’s financial problems will be with us all during 2012 as there appears no easy fix. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is hoping to raise $500 billion US to help with the European crisis. The US Treasury and some non-euro zone European countries, such as Britain, are reluctant to contribute and this could leave Asian and other developing countries to make up the shortfall.
Greece is trying to work out with its creditors how much they will write off. An agreement of sorts was reached last year as a part of the Greek bailout fund that bond holders would take a “hair cut” of 50%. Now, Greece wants that to be taken out to 68% and could be close to an agreement; however Greek Banks don’t want to be included. No one does, but most will agree if everyone else will. The European Central Bank (ECB) is the largest holder of Greek bonds with a total of around €50 billion ($61.5 billion US). Hedge funds are threatening to sue the Greek Government to make good on bond payments so this issue could hang over any deal made. We could then expect Portugal to be the next to stand up for Portuguese bond holders to also take a “cut,” perhaps then followed by Ireland. If Spain and Italy start looking for a deal then the world economy will be in turmoil for a long time which will have an effect on the stock markets. During these economic times people start to move their money into other investments and so real estate is an obvious choice. Demand for investment properties will create a momentum in our local market.
Friday, August 5, 2011
July Market Stats for Vancouver Housing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – From the Desk of AMALIA LIAPIS
While the balance between home buyer and seller activity remains in an equilibrium range in the Greater Vancouver housing market, last month’s home sale total was below the 10-year average for July.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties on the region’s Multiple Listing Service reached 2,571 in July, a 14 per cent increase compared to the 2,255 sales in July 2010 and a 21.2 per cent decline compared to the 3,262 sales in June 2011.
We’re seeing less multiple offer situations in the market today compared to the last few months, but homes priced competitively continue to sell at a relatively swift pace. It’s taking, on average, 41 days to sell a property in the region, which is unchanged from June of this year.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,097 in July. This represents a 23.2 per cent increase compared to July 2010 when 4,138 properties were listed for sale on the MLS and a 12 per cent decline compared to the 5,793 new listings reported in June 2011.
Last month’s new listing total was 8.6 per cent higher than the 10-year average for July, while residential sales were 17.3 per cent below the ten-year average for sales in July. At 15,226, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS increased 0.8 per cent in July compared to last month and declined 7.3 per cent from this time last year.
The number of homes listed for sale in the region has increased each month since the start of the year, which is giving buyers more selection to choose from and more time to make decisions. The MLSLink Housing Price Index benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 9.2 per cent to $630,251 in July 2011 from $577,074 in July 2010.
Sales of detached properties on the MLS in July 2011 reached 1,099, an increase of 21 per cent from the 908 detached sales recorded in July 2010, and a 31.9 percent decrease from the 1,614 units sold in July 2009. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 13.3 per cent from July 2010 to $898,886.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,040 in July 2011, a 6.2 per cent increase compared to the 979 sales in July 2010, and a decrease of 39.1 per cent compared to the 1,708 sales in July 2009. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 4.5 per cent from July 2010 to $405,306.
Attached property sales in July 2011 totalled 432, a 17.4 per cent increase compared to the 368 sales in July 2010, and a 45.5 per cent decrease from the 792 attached properties sold in July 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 6.9 per cent between July 2010 and 2011 to $524,909.
Moving forward to our Fall market, I expect an increase in housing/land prices and a stable condo/townhome market. The exception will be view properties, which will see a significant spike in demand and pricing in an increasingly competitive market.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Home Sales to Rise in 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - From the desk of Amalia Liapis
BC housing markets are returning to typical post-recession demand patterns. The dramatic rebound in consumer demand during 2009 and subsequent decline during the first two quarters of 2010 has set the stage for a gradual increase in home sales during the fall and through 2011. Residential unit sales through the Multiple Listing Service in BC are forecast to decrease 7 per cent to 79,500 units in 2010, before climbing 5 per cent to 83,400 units in 2011.
A slower than expected normalization of interest rates will temper erosion of affordability as economic output posts more moderate growth for the balance of this year and through 2011. Stronger corporate profits are triggering employment growth and a reduction in the unemployment rate is now underway.
A larger inventory of homes for sale has created the most favourable supply conditions for home buyers in more than a year. While tighter mortgage qualifications for low equity home buyers has negatively impacted demand, more borrowers are now channelling into 5-year fixed mortgages where discounted rates increase purchasing power.
The average residential price is forecast to increase 6 per cent to $492,800 this year and edge down 1 per cent to $489,500 in 2011. Some softness in home prices is expected through the summer months in most regional markets. However, inventory levels peaked in May and will likely edge lower in the coming months, leading to more balanced conditions in the fall with a commensurate firming of home prices.
After a sharp pull back in new home construction last year, home builders are gradually increasing production to meet demand. BC led the country in population growth over the last three quarters and with the inventory of complete and unoccupied units expected to decline, builders are adjusting production to match supply with household formation.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Homebuyers and sellers less active in July
Categories:Amalia Liapis,condos,Houses,market trends,price index,Prices,Real Estate,townhomes,Vancouver
August 10, 2010 – Home sales activity in Greater Vancouver was quieter last month than most Julys over the past decade, with residential sales, prices, and the number of homes listed for sale trending downward in recent months.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports that the number of residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,255 in July 2010. This represents a 45.2 per cent decline from the 4,114 sales in July 2009, the highest selling July ever recorded, and a 24.1 per cent decline compared to June 2010. Looking back further, last month’s residential sales represent a 3.7 per cent increase over the 2,174 residential sales in July 2008, a 41.8 per cent decline compared to July 2007’s 3,873 sales, and a 17.5 per cent decline compared to July 2006’s 2,732 sales.
With the pace of home sales and listings easing off in our market, we’ve begun to see a levelling of home prices from the record highs seen in the spring, creating greater affordability. Activity in today’s marketplace is clearly trending in favour of purchaser in most areas of buying. The number of properties listed for sale on the market has been trending downward since spring, with 4,138 new listings in July compared to April’s peak of 7,648. New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver declined 17.9 per cent in July 2010 compared to July 2009, when 5,041 properties were listed for sale.
At 16,431, the total number of property listings in July declined 6.5 per cent compared to last month and increased 33 per cent compared to July 2009. It’s currently taking home sellers who work with a Realtor on average, 45 days to sell their property, which is a historically healthy timeframe. Since spring, housing prices have decreased 2.8 per cent compared to the all-time high reached in April when the residential benchmark price was $593,419. Over the last 12 months, the Housing Price Index benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver increased 9.1 per cent to $577,074 in July 2010 from $528,821 in July 2009.
Sales of detached properties in July 2010 reached 908, a decrease of 43.7 per cent from the 1,614 detached sales recorded in July 2009 and a 9.8 per cent increase from the 827 units sold in July 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 11.5 per cent from July 2009 to $793,193. Sales of apartment properties reached 979 in July 2010, a decline of 42.7 per cent compared to the 1,708 sales in July 2009 and an increase of 1.3 per cent compared to the 966 sales in July 2008. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 6.2 per cent from July 2009 to $387,879.
Attached (town home) property sales in July 2010 totalled 368, a decline of 53.5 per cent compared to the 792 sales in July 2009 and a 3.4 per cent decline from the 381 attached properties sold in July 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 8.6 per cent between July 2009 and 2010 to $490,995.
Even within the slowest times in the market I continue to observe properties that show well, are priced on the mark continue to command top dollar and yes, multi offers!!
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