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Mortgage Rates are still trending Lower… Yes, in August!

Its Christmas! Home Sweet Home. Home Improvement And Time. Enjoy

A couple years ago, the federal government brought in some tighter mortgage qualifying rules. The ‘stress test’ was just one of several changes, but it’s definitely the most well known.

The feds wanted to slow the housing market. They also wanted to ensure that borrowers could afford the much anticipated mortgage rate hikes. Rates have to go up some time, right?! When?!

Continue reading “Mortgage Rates are still trending Lower… Yes, in August!”

Housing slump? Recession? Not so fast…

Blog Image, Economy Ben Tal, November 2018

Remember all those pessimists who were calling for a housing bubble or collapse?

If you listened to them and rented for the past eight years, how much would you have lost? How much would your rent have increased since then? And would you still be able to rent that condo or house… or would your landlord possibly have plans to sell it and leave you out in the cold?

We used to expect an economic slowdown or recession every five years. But something happened after the last big recession in 1990. Since then, there has really only been one recession: in 2009.

This came off the heels of the infamous US subprime mortgage crisis that crippled most of the world’s economies for years. Yet, in Canada, we got off relatively easy. Our slowdown lasted less than a year.

Continue reading “Housing slump? Recession? Not so fast…”

Looser Mortgage Standards Hit the UK! Is Canada Next?!

Home Finances

There’s nothing surprising about the loosening of mortgage standards to spur growth. In the last real housing bubble of 1990, banks and government brought in stricter lending rules, making it tougher for borrowers to get a mortgage.

Fast forward to the present. We’ve yet to see a housing bubble or market crash, but the government has taken drastic – perhaps even unheard of – precautions to slow the housing market.

In 1990, I was working for the largest trust company in Canada. I can tell you that it has never been harder to qualify for a mortgage than it is today!

Continue reading “Looser Mortgage Standards Hit the UK! Is Canada Next?!”

Real Estate Rebounds in June as Expected!

Blog Image, Housing Outlook, June 19Earlier this year, I voiced my disagreement with the real estate pessimists who said a real estate crash or bubble was forming. Click here to read more.

This same more positive outlook is backed up by CMHC’s latest Housing Market Insight report for Ontario courtesy of regional economist Ted Tsiakopoulos.

Below are some key highlights from CMHC’s report:

Continue reading “Real Estate Rebounds in June as Expected!”

Housing bubble is coming… again?

You’ve seen them before.. but they went silent for a few years.  I’m talking about the housing bears.  The pessimists that say house prices are too high and will crash.  A housing bubble.

Are they right?  Maybe.  But here’s the thing.  We’ve been hearing that house prices are too high for over a decade.  One of the more vocal pessimists is David Madani, Economist for Capital Economics.

HOUSING BUBBLE?

Madani was on BNN this past week saying we are in a ‘Full blown housing bubble’.   Hmmm, that sounds familiar.  Let me think… when did I hear that before?  Oh, that’s right, 2011.   He said, we could see house prices drop by 25% in 2011.  And he was completely wrong. (hope you didn’t listen to him). Continue reading “Housing bubble is coming… again?”

Panic buying? When will the housing market slow down?

 

hot-housing-marketHouses selling over asking price is becoming the norm, these days.  Kinda crazy.  Sometimes a house is just listed under market value to attract a frenzy of buyers. An old tactic that has worked well in larger urban markets.  Today, that tactic is being used in smaller communities, too.

What’s unclear is if this selling tactic is contributing to houses selling for more than they’re worth.  And what is a home worth, anyway?   I always thought a house was worth what someone was willing to pay in the open market.  That’s still true in most cases, today.

When I see reports of houses selling for $100k, $200k and $300k over asking, it makes me wonder.  How long will this market last?  Will it crash?  And if so, when?   It’s hard to make forecasts and I can’t see into the future, but let’s examine this a little.

WHEN WILL THE HOUSING MARKET CRASH? Continue reading “Panic buying? When will the housing market slow down?”

Mortgage brief.. CMHC ‘red warning’.. what’s it mean?

red-warningMuch has been made about CMHC’s Economists ‘Red Warning’ that was put out for the 4th quarter of 2016.  Let’s take a look at what the report actually says.

CMHC’s economists have 3 categories of measurement that are of concern.  Overheating, Price acceleration and Overvaluation.

VANCOUVER AND TORONTO

The Vancouver market had already been identified by CMHC as having moderate Overheating and Price Acceleration and Strong Overvaluation.    Toronto now has the same issues with the same Overall Assessment of Strong evidence of problematic conditions.

Put another way, CMHC believes the Toronto and Vancouver housing markets are vulnerable.   While this is cause for concern, there was also some other info in the report that we should be probably not overlook… Continue reading “Mortgage brief.. CMHC ‘red warning’.. what’s it mean?”

Trump’s George Ross says Canada’s Housing market is undervalued….

George RossGeorge Ross is Donald Trump’s Executive VP.  He’s Trump’s senior advisor and has worked with Trump for 30 years.   You’ve probably seen him on TV on ‘The Apprentice’.   This week, he was quoted as saying Canada’s real estate market is undervalued, not overvalued.    That’s quite the opposite of what the so-called experts have been saying for 8 or 9 years.  (by the way, where are those experts now?)

If you listen to his interview, he makes some good points.   Office properties have more upward potential than residential properties.  But the residential market follows the Office or commercial market.   He also says that buying a house for a quick flip isn’t a good strategy.    It may sound good on the TV shows, but it’s a risky game to play.   Mr. Ross says more fortunes have been lost in real estate than have been made.   Continue reading “Trump’s George Ross says Canada’s Housing market is undervalued….”

Housing bubble? Waiting for the crash before buying has cost you 60% in the last 6 years.

Housing BubleBad news travels 10 times faster than good news!  It’s just human nature that we can’t seem to escape.  We seem more likely to gossip about someone’s misfortune than their accomplishments.

Here’s a negative headline….  YOU LOST APPROXIMATELY $355,000, SO FAR, IF YOU’VE BEEN WAITING TO A BUY HOUSE SINCE 2008.  Read on to see understand how and why.

Take Wednesday’s headline in the Financial Post, “Bank of Canada warns house prices are overvalued by up to 30%” .  WOW!  How’s that not gonna get your attention?   It certainly got mine.  I immediately had to read this article.  But the more I read, the clearer it became that this statement wasn’t exactly true.

The article pointed to a semi-annual report that is put out by the Bank of Canada entitled, Financial System Review December 2014.  That headline is an attention grabber.. And like most media headlines, it’s not the full story.  In fact, it’s not an accurate reflection of what the Bank of Canada report had to say.   If you look at Stephen Poloz’s (Bank of Canada Governor) comments, he says “there is some risk that the housing market is overvalued, and our estimates fall in the 10 to 30 per cent range”.

But he’s not done there.. Continue reading “Housing bubble? Waiting for the crash before buying has cost you 60% in the last 6 years.”

Buy now or wait for house prices to fall? The results may surprise you…

Housing-affordability

Should I buy now with interest rates still hovering at record lows, or wait for prices to fall?   When will house prices fall? … and by how much?    What will the interest rate be in the future when house prices fall?

These are the questions most Canadians asking themselves these days.   It’s no secret that Real Estate values are at an all time high in most parts of the country.   The calls for a housing correction, crash, or bubble have been going on for almost 10 years now but it hasn’t materialized.

I won’t get into the discussion here about whether house values will drop or crash or when that could happen.. because I don’t think it should be part of the buying decision.   That’s not a typo.  Market timing is a dangerous thing.  Stock advisors will tell you this.  Buy now, if you are able to commit to the plan.  Read on to see why I believe this to be true. Continue reading “Buy now or wait for house prices to fall? The results may surprise you…”

Doomsday real estate prophecy….enough already!

This pic might best capture the image that comes to mind when I hear the phrase ‘real estate crash’.   Don’t adjust your screen.  This isn’t a hoax.   This 12 story building collapsed in 2009 shortly after it was completed.

Note how the building remained intact after it fell.   That is truly amazing.   Clearly, it was well-built.  But note the hollow concrete piers with no rebar.   This is a great example of how even the best built building will fall if it has a weak foundation.

Our U.S. neighbors to the south learned about weak foundations in 2008.   The U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis was caused by Banks offering mortgages to anyone with a pulse.   There was little to no qualifying for a mortgage.  You could buy or refinance up 110% of the value of the home!   Mortgages were being given to those that didn’t qualify.  This was the root of the U.S. housing crash.

HOW DOES CANADA STACK UP?

But is this what the future looks like for Canada’s housing market?    We keep hearing reports about the imminent Canadian housing bubble.  It’s coming… soon… no, really.   We’ve heard this continually for the last 5 years.   You just have to wake up and turn on the TV, radio or computer.   It’s full of Doomsday forecasters.   But reality is very different.   Listen to facts and forecasts from proven sources….  Take CMHC’s most recent report released in the 4th quarter of 2012.  They are calling for a stable housing market in 2013.  Average house prices will stop climbing and remain flat.  Rental vacancy rates will stay low.   Click here for CMHC’s Q4 report.

The forecast isn’t calling for any huge price drop as the media would have you believe.  It’s boring news… but that’s good news for us.  CMHC’s historical forecasts have been pretty accurate.  And they probably have more data at their fingertips than any other organization.   The Doomsday forecasters don’t seem to reference this report… but I suggest we give more consideration to accredited reports…

Speaking of Doomsday… I saw a good article in The Financial Post entitled ‘Are we worrying ourselves into a housing crash’?  A great question… and they quote 2 of my favorite Economists and Financial Experts, Moshe Milevsky and Benjamin Tal.   Both believe we won’t see a housing collapse like the U.S. had.  The fundamentals are very different.  But they think that if we keep talking about a crash, then it could  speed up and prolong any housing slowdown.

To me, Canada is like the 12 story building, strong and intact.   The U.S. was like the foundation…hollow and weak.   Let’s make sure understand the differences before we write off our housing market.

As always, I welcome your questions and comments.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

 

Listings down, prices up…. housing bubble?

Latest housing stats show listings are down, sales are down… but prices are up, only slightly…. and houses aren’t on the market as long.  They are selling faster.   Doesn’t sound like a bubble to me.  More like a soft landing.

This is exactly what the govt had in mind when it changed mortgage rules a few months ago and made it tougher to qualify for a mortgage.  It’s still too early to say if these changes are just right or went too far….. We’ll need another 6 months or so to see the full effect.   Best guesses are that the housing market could slow by 5%.   But I haven’t seen that happen… In the Greater Toronto area, we are still seeing multiple offers and sales go above asking price….  The interesting stat for me is the fewer number of sales… We’ll be watching that stat… fewer sales over an extended period of time will stop any price increases…

This also means we should expect interest rates to remain low.  The Bank of Canada will be under less pressure to raise rates with a flat housing market.   Throw in the U.S. Fed’s announcement last week that they were going to keep rates the same until 2014-15, and we have the perfect setting for low rates.

RECORD LOW INTEREST ARE STILL HERE…. WHY AREN’T WE TALKING ABOUT THIS?

Speaking of low interest rates…  Here’s some advice… before you put your plans to buy on hold, you should remember that we are still enjoying historically low interest rates.  5 year fixed rates at 3.09%… Variable rates at 2.65%..!!   This is a fact that so many of us tend to ignore…. maybe it’s just too boring to talk about.    I’ll make it more exciting…

A $400k mortgage will carry for $1912/mth based on today’s 3.09% 5 yr fixed rate…….Wanna wait for house prices to fall and save some money?  Ok, but you should also expect interest rates to rise… lower house prices are caused by higher interest rates and higher unemployment…  We don’t expect higher unemployment so we must attribute any house price drop to a rise in interest rates……a look back at the last housing crash in 1989 showed interest rates went up to 11% and 12% just before the crash….. make sense so far?

This is where so many of us stop thinking or analyzing…Cashflow and affordability are probably just as important or more important than rate, mortgage balance, purchase price, etc… if you aren’t comfortable with the payment, you will run into problems…. By the way, affordability is still VERY good according the RBC affordability index.

REAL MORTGAGE MATH SHOWS TRUE COST OF WAITING TO BUY

Let’s continue….Let’s say rates go to more normal levels…  we’ll use 5% interest rates..  That same $400k mortgage will cost you $2326/mth.….  and if you wanna adjust the mortgage size by $40k because house prices should fall 10%, okay…  a $360k mortgage at 5% will cost you $2094/mth... That’s still $182/mth more… and let’s also not forget, that you may have lost 1, 2, 3 or more years of not paying a mortgage down….  Did you know you will pay your mortgage down by around $10k per year in the first 3 yrs alone?

Real Estate isn’t always a great investment, but it usually makes more sense to buy, hold and enjoy, than it does not to buy and rent….  And with interest rates at record lows, it’s even easier to make that recommendation.   Stop listening to the pessimist that say the sky is falling or the world is ending…  If we listened to them, we would be renting for the last 10+ years… for that’s how long they have been saying house prices are inflated and need to drop…..

As always, if you aren’t sure where you fit in or what’s best for you, feel free to contact me to discuss…  Your questions and comments are welcome.

Steve Garganis

steve@mortgagenow.ca

416 224 0114

No housing bubble but possible tighter mortgage rules?

Last December, there was a report by CTV that the Federal Government was considering making some changes to mortgage rules if he saw evidence of a housing bubble.  These included increasing the minimum down payment from 5% to 10% and shortening maximum amortizations to 30 years from 35.

Today, the Globe and Mail reported Jim Flaherty, the Minister of Finance, has no plans to tighten Canadian Mortgage Rules.    He sees no evidence of a housing bubble.  The article goes on to say, the Big Six Banks have been putting some pressure on the Government to tighten mortgage rules.   Are you paying attention Mr. or Ms. Homeowner?  This could affect the value of your home.

Anything that makes is tougher for buyer’s to qualify for a mortgage will reduce housing sales and this ultimately will affect the value of real estate.  But probably the bigger and unwelcome effect is that it will make owning a home more difficult for first time homebuyers.

Let’s not forget that our government took action in October 2008 by reducing the maximum amortization to 35 years from 40.    They also abolished $0 money down and brought in a 5% minimum down payment. Is more action needed at this time?  I don’t think so…what troubles me a little is how the government and the Big Six banks are reportedly having secret meetings that concern mortgage rules.

Affordable housing is part of the Canadian dream.   The record low interest rates were brought in as part of the stimulus plan to help us get out of the recession.  We’re not completely out yet… let’s hope the government takes action that will help Canadians, not hinder their ability to own a home.

My suggestion to the government is to flex some muscle and get the banks to cap or standardize how they calculate prepayment penalties on residential mortgages.  We’ve seen far too many borrower’s with job troubles  that tried to benefit from the record interest rates, only to be hit with enormous prepayment penalties of $10,000, $15,000 and even $20,000.  Let’s help these Canadians.

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