Archive for February, 2012

Chinese investors still attracted to Vancouver and Toronto’s housing markets

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

If you thought Chinese investors were starting to lose interest in Canadian real estate, think again.

According to a new report, both Vancouver and Toronto are forecast to be this year’s most popular destinations for Chinese overseas property investment.

“Buying sentiment for overseas properties among Chinese mainland investors has been gaining strong momentum over the past few years,” said Derek Lai, director of international properties for Colliers International real estate services and the author of the report. “To date, about 20% to 40% of the foreign property investors in these destinations are from the Chinese mainland.”

The report goes on to cite Vancouver’s Chinese population – what it pegs as 30% of city residents – as one of the driving factors for that investment choice.

Mainland Chinese investors are also lured by the Lower Mainland’s educational opportunities and proximity to home, according to Colliers.

Still, Canada’s two largest cities are facing some competition for Chinese investment, with London and Singapore rounding out the top four real estate destinations.

In the UK, rising property values and a very limited supply have accelerated the push into London, with Chinese investors now buying as much as 20% of all new builds.

Singapore’s low mortgage rates of 1.2% to 2%, relatively high and stable rental yields of around 5% and a transparent transaction system are responsible for attracting its share of mainland Chinese interest, according to the Colliers report relying on both interviews and investment declaration states.

In Canada, Vancouver’s appeal helped to drive up price gains in large parts of the Lower Mainland last year, with domestic investors concerned another year of strong transaction growth could present a real challenge to their own acquisition plans if sellers continue to hold out for well-heeled foriegn buyers. Many have only begun to lower their asking prices to meet the current market realities; ie, more supply than demand.

That said, there has been some movement.

The dollar value B.C. properties sold in January dipped 7.6% to $2.1 billion, compared to the same month last year. The average MLS residential price was 3.8% lower at $527,219 compared to January 2011.

Source: Vernon Clement Jones, Canadian Real Estate Wealth

First-time buyers of new homes in BC to receive tax credit incentive

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

A new tax break for first-time buyers of new homes will help stimulate the construction industry and create plenty of new jobs, an industry executive said of Tuesday’s 2012 provincial budget.

“This is welcome,” Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association president and chief executive officer Peter Simpson said of a temporary bonus for first-time homebuyers that will be effective until March 31, 2013, and is worth up to $10,000.

“They have a difficult time getting into the market and typically get assistance from the bank of Mom and Dad. So this helps property virgins get on the first rung of home ownership and helps stimulate construction.

“For every home start, there are approximately three full-time jobs each year.”

The bonus, a one-time refundable personal tax credit, is equal to five per cent of the purchase price of the home to a maximum of $10,000.

The bonus will be reduced based on a buyer’s or couple’s net income. For single people, the bonus is reduced by 20 cents for every dollar in net income over $150,000 (it’s reduced to zero at $200,000 net income). For couples, the bonus is reduced by 10 cents for every dollar in family net income over $150,000 (it’s zero at $250,000 family net income).

The bonus, which includes detached houses, duplexes, townhouses, condos, mobile homes, floating homes and cooperative housing units, is based on homes where the HST is now payable.

In a budget briefing, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said the incentive will help people get into the market.

“We hear from people that talk about the challenge their children or their grandchildren are having getting into their first home,” Falcon said.

“And the biggest hurdle is usually the down payment you’re required to come up with. We believe a $10,000 contribution towards those first-time purchasers of new homes is a great contribution, a great way we can help your children or your grandchildren get into their first home and at the same time receive the dual benefit of supporting the new home construction industry over the next 12 months when it’s forecast across the country to be slowing.”

Urban Development Institute executive-director Maureen Enser agreed, saying the homebuyer bonus was an added bit of good news for the home construction industry on top of the government’s announcement last week raising the HST-rebate threshold to $850,000.

“In the Lower Mainland in particular, where housing is very expensive, both measures together make it easier for people to consider a new home [purchase] for a family,” Enser said.

She added that the maximum $10,000 bonus for first-time buyers with net income under $150,000 should stimulate some potential buyers to move off the sidelines and look for homes, particularly in the Lower Mainland.

“[About] 13 per cent of new housing is priced below $525,000, and 50 per cent is between the $525,000 and $850,000 range,” Enser said, so the measures combined help bring down the cost of new housing at both ends.

However, Simpson was less happy about the budget’s lack of any significant tax relief for the home renovation industry, noting that B.C. homeowners will spend more than $7.6 billion in home renovation, improvement and repair this year.

“We’re still left with the issue of the underground economy, with people delaying their decision to renovate their home by waiting for the HST to disappear [on April 1, 2013],” said Simpson, who added that the home renovation tax credit of up to $1,000 a year for seniors to help them remain in their homes longer will not have a big impact on renovators.

Vancouver-based home renovator Todd Senft agreed with Simpson, saying he’d hoped for new relief but now believes the lack of tax breaks in Tuesday’s budget will force many people to put off renovations and go to the underground economy — where renovators with less credentials undercut legitimate contractors.

“That’s disappointing,” Senft, owner of reVISION Custom Home Renovations Inc., said.

“I’m glad they paid attention to new-home builders, but that doesn’t help us. People will wait a few months and save a few thousand dollars.

“It [the home renovation industry] is steady right now and the year has started moderately. But it will be a tough grind this year. I’m hoping more [homeowners] don’t head to the underground economy to save money. The savings by doing it under the table are massive.”

Source: Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

Canada’s condo and housing market – what could happen if things start to cool too quickly

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

An interesting and informative video from BNN about the state of Canada’s condo and housing market and how much taxpayers could be on the hook if the market starts to cool faster than expected.

video: The state of Canada's condo market

video: The state of Canada's condo market

How the new HST transition rules affect new homes in BC

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

The transitional tax rules for new homes in B.C. announced on Friday by Finance Minister Kevin Falcon are significantly more generous than the old ones.

The rule changes are intended to keep the tax burden on most newly-constructed homes at the same level that they were under the old PST regime, that they are under the current HST and that they will be when the PST is reinstated on April Fool’s Day next year. But three provisions make this a sweeter deal for builders and buyers:

. The threshold for a substantial tax rebate has been raised from $525,000 – a ludicrously low amount in the Lower Mainland, which is Canada’s most expensive housing market – to $825,000.

. Buyers of higher-priced homes will also benefit because they’ll pay tax only on the amount over and above the exemption.

. Recreational homes in most of B.C. will be eligible for the tax break for the first time.

The increased exemption goes a long way to address one of the most serious criticisms of the well-structured but badly implemented HST that has caused the governing Liberals so much grief. The exemption was so low and homes are subjected to so many taxes that the HST became yet another driver of sky-high urban house prices.

Would British Columbians’ reaction to the HST have been less visceral and less powerful if measures like these had been adopted from the start?

We’ll never know.

But maybe, just maybe, this more realistic approach indicates the government at least learned a lesson from the voter rage that drove former premier Gordon Campbell from office.

Since houses take a long time to build, the policy recognizes that many will be started under one tax regime and finished and sold under another. Falcon said the objective is to keep the tax burden the same, regardless of the timing.

In the old PST era, there was no provincial tax on the selling price of a new home, but builders paid PST on materials they used. The PST added, on average, two per cent to the total cost of the home.

When the HST was implemented, the seven-per-cent provincial tax applied to the selling price of the house, but the government said it wanted to keep the tax burden at the same level as under the PST. So it implemented a rebate of up to $26,250 (now raised to $42,500) to bring the effective provincial tax rate down to two per cent on the first $525,000.

When the PST resumes next year, the assumption is that the PST will, once again, add about two per cent to the cost of each new home.

Those prices should all work out to be equal.

The problem Falcon had to address was what to do about houses started under one tax regime and finished under another.

Depending on the timing and the policy, it’s easy to come up with scenarios where buyers might be able to duck both taxes, or where they might be dinged with both.

Falcon’s solution is a two-per-cent transitional tax on homes built with tax-free materials and sold with no HST applied. It’s a bit more complex than that, because it has a provision to consider what portion of the materials are bought and what portion of the home is completed under each tax regime.

Complex tax policies always create opportunities for unfairness. But Janice Roper, a specialist on indirect taxes at the Vancouver office of Deloitte, tells me the rules appear to be comprehensive, fair and hard to manipulate.

Peter Simpson, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association, said they provide the certainty his builders want, and they were announced sooner and with better terms than expected.

So – thus far, at least – Falcon seems to be finding his way through the HST minefield he inherited with his new job.

Source: Don Cayo, The Vancouver Sun

Average price of a Vancouver home drops slightly

Friday, February 17th, 2012

While home sales in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley dipped at the start of 2012, other regions throughout the province faced increased market activity, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA).

The number of houses sold in the Vancouver region through Multiple Listing Service was down 13.4 per cent in January from the same month last year, the industry group said Wednesday.

In addition, the average price of a Vancouver home declined slightly, from $762,562 in January 2011 to $752,380 this year – a difference of 1.3 per cent.

In the Fraser Valley, sales dipped by 3.1 per cent during the same time period. However, prices rose 6.4 per cent from an average of $441,544 last year to $469,635 in 2012.

Meanwhile, B.C.’s northwest and northeast regions, Kamloops and Victoria saw sales gains of more than 10 per cent.

The biggest jump occurred in B.C.’s northwest region, where the average house price increased 14.2 per cent – from $214,357 to $244,872 – in the 12 months from January 2011.

Powell River, with an average price of $209,636, recorded the least expensive homes in the province – a figure down 1.2 per cent ($212,078) over January 2011.

Cameron Muir, chief economist with the BCREA, said consumer demand driven by low mortgage interest rates saw modest improvements in January from a year ago, despite a decline in provincial sales activity.

Across Canada, home sales were down 4.5 per cent in January from the same month one year earlier, while the number of newly listed homes edged down 1.4 per cent.

“This marks the first monthly decline in national activity since August 2011 and the biggest monthly decline since July 2010,” the Canadian Real Estate Association stated.

“The monthly decline reversed a string of monthly increases over the closing months of last year, and returned national activity to where it stood at the end of the third quarter of 2011.

January’s sales declines were led by Greater Toronto and Montreal, as well as a softening in other major centres such as Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

Still, unadjusted sales last month were up four per cent from January 2011 and were even with the five-and 10-year averages for January sales, it said.

“The national housing market is stabilizing and remains well balanced,” said CREA president Gary Morse.

“That said, forecasts for economic and job growth going forward vary widely for different parts of the country, suggesting a possible continuation of a softening trend in some markets, as well as the potential that demand will pick up based on strong fundamentals in others.”

Source: The Vancouver Sun

Canadian property sales show the biggest fall since July 2010

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Residential property sales in Canada fell 4.5% from December last year to January 2012, the biggest monthly fall since July 2010, the latest figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show.

It was also the first monthly fall since August 2011. The monthly decline reversed a string of monthly increases over the closing months of last year, and returned national activity to where it stood at the end of the third quarter of 2011.

Last year was also muted in terms of price increases, with the national average home price up less than 2% year on year in January, one of the smallest increases of the last 12 months.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in January 2012 was $348,178, representing an increase of 1.2% from its year ago level. This ranks among the smallest increases since late 2010.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the national average home price rose 1.6% on a month on month basis, marking a rebound from a decline of similar magnitude in December.

“The national housing market is stabilizing and remains well balanced. That said, forecasts for economic and job growth going forward vary widely for different parts of the country, suggesting a possible continuation of a softening trend in some markets, as well as the potential that demand will pick up based on strong fundamentals in others,” said Gary Morse, CREA’s president.

Activity was down in over half of all local markets in January from the previous month. Led by declines in Greater Toronto and Montreal, demand also softened in a number of other major urban centres including the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and the Greater Vancouver housing market.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales activity was up 4% from year ago levels in January, the smallest year on year increase since last May. As was the case in a number of months last year, actual sales in January 2012 stood close to the five and 10 year average for the month.

The number of newly listed homes edged down 1.4% on a month on month basis in January following a 2.9% increase in December. The monthly decline in new supply reflects a drop in new listings in a number of Canada’s largest urban centres, which offset a jump in new listings in Vancouver, CREA said.

Sales fell in January shifting the national market back towards the mid point of balanced territory and reversing the recent trend which had seen the market becoming tighter over the final four months of 2011. The national sales-to-new listings ratio, a measure of market balance, stood at 53.8% in January, down from 55.5% in December and 55.4% in November.

Based on a sales-to-new listings ratio of between 40 to 60%, some 60% of local markets were balanced in January. Compared to December, there were fewer buyers’ and sellers’ markets, and a greater number of balanced markets.

The number of months of inventory stood at six months at the end of January on a national basis, up from 5.7 months in December 2011 and returning it to where it stood in October 2011. The number of months of inventory represents the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, and is another measure of the balance between housing supply and demand.

“Year on year comparisons in the national average price are expected to become volatile and may turn negative, reflecting average price developments in the first half of 2011 in Vancouver,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

“At that time, high-end home sales in Vancouver’s priciest neighbourhoods surged to all-time record levels, which skewed the national average price upward considerably. A replay of this phenomenon is not expected this year,” he explained.

“As a result, comparisons for national average price to year ago levels over the coming months will reflect an upwardly skewed base effect. For this reason, year-on-year comparisons should be kept in perspective. Developments in the MLS® HPI will provide important guidance on price trends, since it is not affected by the problem of compositional shifts in the mix of sales activity,” he added.

Source: PropertyWire

Vancouver is officially the most expensive city in North America

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Zurich has topped Tokyo to become the world’s most expensive city, as surging currencies push up the cost of living in countries like Switzerland and Australia, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Vancouver overtook U.S. cities to become the most expensive in North America, ranked 37th in the world. Los Angeles was the most expensive U.S. city – equal 42nd with Shanghai – while New York came in 47th.

The Swiss Franc’s allure as a safe haven for investors moving their funds out of Euro zone nations propelled Zurich to the top spot from fifth last year, while Geneva came in third.

Five Australian cities made it into the top 20, led by Sydney and Melbourne in seventh and eighth places, according to The Worldwide Cost of Living survey, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“Exchange rates have been the greatest influence for the Australian cost of living, with the Australian dollar seeing its value to the U.S. dollar double in a decade,” said survey editor Jon Copestake in a statement.

The survey of 130 cities worldwide compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products, including food, clothing, transport, rents and private schools.

Asian cities moved up the ranking, with Singapore gaining one place to 9th spot and Seoul climbing nine places to 27th.

Asia was also home to some of the cheapest cities. Three of the four cheapest were in the Indian subcontinent: New Delhi and Mumbai in India, and Karachi in Pakistan, which was the cheapest of cities surveyed.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

Property sales in Vancouver and Burnaby

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Vancouver Sun February 13th, 2012

6629 Laurel St., Vancouver

Type: 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom detached
Size: 2,700 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2012: $2,083,700
Listed for: $2,200,000
Sold for: $2,100,000
Sold on: Jan. 5
Days on market: 0
Listing agent: Daphne McFarland at Hugh & McKinnon Realty
Buyer’s agent: Charan Kamal Pannu at SRS Westside Realty

The big sell: The seller of this two-level rancher bought it in 1953 — the year it was built – and resided in it for the next 59 years. It is not uncommon to have original-owner homes of this age in Vancouver, but in these real-estate obsessed times, it is becoming less so. As the description on the MLS listing sheet states, this is a solid home, but the main value is in the large level lot. That land measures 54 by 144 feet and if redeveloped, could hold a property larger than the current residence. Adding to the attraction was the light-filled west-facing fenced back yard, the Oakridge neighbourhood, and the convenience of a location that’s near Oakridge shopping centre, Langara College, Churchill secondary and Jamieson elementary schools, and the Canada Line. All of this produced an accepted offer the day the property went on the market.

89 -9229 University Cres., Burnaby

Type: 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom townhouse
Size: 1,163 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2012: $392,000
Listed for: $449,000
Sold for: $438,000
Sold on: Jan. 12
Days on market: 58
Listing agent: Robert Crowe at RE/MAX Real Estate Services
Buyer’s agent: Robert Crowe and Ali Nimji at RE/MAX Real Estate Services

The big sell: SFU’s UniverCity development is a sustainable community that has evolved into a family-friendly complex high up on the campus grounds on Burnaby Mountain. Serenity was built by Polygon in 2006 and consists of 132 townhomes surrounded by forest walks, hiking and bike trails. One block away is the new University Highlands elementary school, and a new child care centre will be opening soon. This three-bedroom, two-level corner unit home enjoys an abundance of natural light and a large patio and garden area surrounded by thick conifers. The interior features a mix of flooring with wall-to-wall carpet, laminate hardwood and tiling. The kitchen has plenty of cupboard and counter space, birch-coloured cabinetry, a double sink, stainless-steel appliances, and a subway-tiled backsplash. An electric fireplace warms the living room and an oversized shower adds a spa-like quality to the ensuite bathroom. The home has designer colours throughout.

106-1040 West 8th Ave., Vancouver

Type: 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment
Size: 692 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2012: $340,000
Listed for: $369,900
Sold for: $362,500
Sold on: Jan. 12
Days on market: 85
Listing agent: Paul Bale at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty
Buyer’s agent: George Winkler at Amex Broadway West Realty

The big sell: This home is just north of Broadway on the Fairview slopes, with Granville Island, the seawall, parks, shopping, and transportation minutes away. The ground-floor unit has a well-designed floor plan and a front door that opens to a 16-by-16-foot living room. That room has bright, arched windows that provide plenty of views of a partly covered garden patio. The home has a gas fireplace, in-suite laundry and storage areas, a 16-by-9-foot bedroom, and a secure underground parking stall. This is one of 28 units in the four-storey development, which was built in 1986 with the homes positioned around a central courtyard. The apartments have been rainscreened and are pet- and rental-friendly.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Vancouver’s housing market is unlikely to face a significant price correction

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

While Canada’s banks are tightening lending standards in a move to avoid a U.S.-style housing correction, experts say Vancouver’s robust housing market is not expected to face a severe price correction.

Canada’s banks are in talks with the federal government about ways to curb mortgage lending in response to a “genuine concern” about the country’s housing boom and rising consumer debt levels, said TD Bank chief executive officer Edmund Clark.

“Household debt numbers are coming up to U.S. levels, so that is causing us a concern,” said Clark.

The banks have responded by restricting some lending and raising prices on higher-risk borrowers.

TD Bank joined Royal Bank of Canada this week in ending a promotional 2.99 per cent four-year mortgage rate, three weeks before it was set to expire.

Although the Vancouver housing market may be out of equilibrium, a significant correction is not expected, said Tsur Somerville, director at the University of B.C. Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate at the Sauder School of Business.

“I think there’s some concern that prices don’t get so far out of whack that there’s a substantial correction,” Somerville said. “All you have to do is look around and you’ll see that if [a substantial correction] does happen, that would be a real big problem. So let’s not let the housing market be driven by a wave of cheap and easy-to-access money.”

The Bank of Canada is trying to reduce the exposure to mortgage debt and put the brakes on the housing market without using “really, really big hammers,” like raising interest rates, Somervilles said.

“The government has already taken steps to control mortgage lending through its regulations and I think there’s a wariness about tightening those too much, so they’re encouraging the banks to look at their mortgage book more closely.”

However, an expectation that mortgage rates will stay low is taking the sizzle out of Vancouver’s housing prices, Reuters reported.

“Since October, it was like someone turned off the tap. It became absolutely dead,” said longtime realtor Pam Allen.

At the same time, Chinese investors, who have long helped to underpin the city’s red-hot market, are holding back because property market curbs back home means they have less cash available.

But with immigrants still streaming in from China and elsewhere, and the city frequently rated one of the most livable on the planet, most experts see prices fizzling rather than imploding with a bang.

Vancouver price rises peaked at a stunning 19.8 per cent in 2006, dipped in 2009, and came roaring back with double-digit growth in both 2010 and 2011.

A house bought for $500,000 in 2001 would have fetched about $1.2 million a decade later, based on average price changes.

But the latest month-to-month figures show Vancouver prices fell in five of seven months from last June to December, including drops of more than 5 per cent in November and December.

Source: Bloomberg News with files from Reuters and Tracy Sherlock, Vancouver Sun

Will Canadian home prices have the same correction as the US?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

In few corners of the world would a car park squeezed between two arms of an elevated highway be seen as prime real estate. In Toronto, however, a 75-storey condominium is planned for such an awkward site, near the waterfront. The car park next door will become a pair of 70-storey towers too. In total, 173 sky-scrapers are being built in Toronto, the most in North America. New York is second with 96.

When the United States saw a vast housing bubble inflate and burst during the 2000s, many Canadians felt smug about the purported prudence of their financial and property markets. During the crash, Canadian house prices fell by just 8%, compared with more than 30% in America. They hit new record highs by 2010. “Canada was not a part of the problem,” Stephen Harper, the prime minister, boasted in 2010.

Today the consensus is growing on Bay Street, Toronto’s answer to Wall Street, that Mr Harper may have to eat his words. In response to America’s slow economic recovery and uncertainty in Europe, the Bank of Canada has kept interest rates at record lows. Five-year fixed-rate mortgages now charge interest of just 2.99%. In response, Canadians have sought ever-bigger loans for ever-costlier homes. The country’s house prices have doubled since 2002.

Speculators are pouring into the property markets in Toronto and Vancouver. “We have foreign investors who are purchasing two, three, four, five properties,” says Michael Thompson, who heads Toronto’s economic-development committee. Last month a modest Toronto home put on the market for C$380,000 ($381,500) sold for C$570,000, following a bidding war among 31 prospective buyers. According to Demographia, a consultancy, Vancouver’s ratio of home prices to incomes is the highest in the English-speaking world.

Bankers are becoming alarmed. Mark Carney, the governor of the central bank, has been warning for years that Canadians are consuming beyond their means. The bosses of banks with big mortgage businesses, including CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal, have all said the housing market is at or near its peak. Canada’s ratio of household debt to disposable income has risen by 40% in the past decade, recently surpassing America’s (see chart). And its ratio of house prices to income is now 30% above its historical average—less than, say, Ireland’s excesses (which reached 70%), but high enough to expect a drop. A recent report from Bank of America said Canada was “showing many of the signs of a classic bubble”.

The consequences of such a bubble bursting are hard to predict. On the one hand, high demand for Canada’s commodity exports could cushion the blow from a housing bust. And since banks have recourse to all of a borrower’s assets, and Canadian lending standards are stricter than America’s were, a decline in house prices would probably not wreck the banks as it did in the United States.

However, the Canadian economy is still dependent on the consumer. Fears about the global economy have slowed business investment, and all levels of government are bent on austerity. The Conservative government’s next budget is expected to put forward a plan to close the federal deficit, now 2% of GDP, by 2015—modest austerity compared to Europe’s, but still a drag on the economy. Few new jobs are being created. Assuming there is no setback in Europe’s debt crunch, slowdown in America or drop in commodity prices, GDP is forecast to grow by a meagre 2% this year. If consumers start feeling less well off, Canada could slip back into recession.

The inevitable landing will probably be soft. Increases in house prices and sales volumes are slowing, and the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto should prop up builders. “The national housing market is more like a balloon than a bubble,” says a report by the Bank of Montreal. “While bubbles always burst, a balloon often deflates slowly in the absence of a ‘pin’.”

Moreover, the government is trying to cool the market. The banking regulator is increasing its scrutiny of housing in response to concerns about speculators. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a government mortgage-insurance agency, says it will have to start reducing its new coverage because of legal limits. And the finance ministry has cut the maximum term of publicly insured mortgages from 35 years to 30. Some bank managers are calling for it to be reduced to 25, the historical norm. Canada’s reputation for financial sobriety is not entirely unwarranted.

However, the state has refused to use its most powerful tool. To protect business investment, the central bank has made clear that it plans to keep interest rates low. As long as money stays cheap, the balloon could get bigger—perhaps big enough to become a fully fledged bubble after all.

Source: The Economist

Real Estate Blogs