31 Aug

Canada’s Economy Unexpectedly Contracted in Q2 – August 31 2021

Latest News

Posted by:

AUGUST 31 2021

Housing Dampened Economy in Q2

This morning’s Stats Canada release showed that the economy unexpectedly contracted in the second quarter by 1.1%, down from the revised 5.5% gain in the first three months of the year. The Canadian dollar dipped on the news to $.7921 as questions of resiliency in the face of the delta variant mount. Economists in a Bloomberg survey were anticipating a 2.5% expansion. Adding to the disappointment, economic growth fell a further 0.4% in July, according to a preliminary estimate.

The weak GDP data reduces the odds of the Bank of Canada tapering their bond purchases at their policy meeting on September 8th. It also highlights the output gap–the degree to which the economy remains below full economic capacity–remains a big issue. The Bank has forecast the gap to close by the middle of 2022. While that remains uncertain, we continue to expect growth to rebound in the third quarter.

Increases in investment in business inventories, government final consumption expenditures, business investment in machinery and equipment, and investment in new home construction and renovation were not sufficient to offset the declines in exports (-4.0%) and homeownership transfer costs (-17.7%), which include all costs associated with the transfer of a residential asset from one owner to another.

Housing investment reshapes the economy

Since the third quarter of 2020, housing investment has emerged as the predominant contributor to economic activities and capital stock—with residential capital stock surpassing non-residential capital stock. Moreover, the average housing investment for the previous four quarters was 17% higher than the average over the last five years.

Housing Investment

Both new construction and renovations—the components of residential capital stock—have shown sustained growth since the third quarter of 2020. Because of the ability to work from home, savings from less travel and reduced participation in other activities, low mortgage rates and increases in home equity lines of credit, spending has continued to increase on new houses (+3.2%) and home renovations (+2.4%).After taking on $62.3 billion of residential mortgage debt in the last half of 2020, households added $84.2 billion more residential housing debt in the first half of 2021.

Supply chain disruptions continue to impact motor vehicles

Shortages of microchips and other inputs curtailed trade in motor vehicles and domestic consumption. Household purchases of new passenger cars (-7.2%) and trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles (-1.6%) decreased, while business investment in medium and heavy trucks, buses and other motor vehicles fell 34.2%. Longer plant shutdowns because of international supply chain disruptions have constrained imports of parts and led to significant decreases in exports. Low production of motor vehicles and parts resulted in an 18.9% drop in exports of passenger cars and light trucks and an 8.7% decline in tires, motor vehicle engines and parts exports. Inventories had another quarter of significant drawdowns in response to supply needs.

Double-digit household savings rate continues

The modest rise in household spending (+0.7%, in nominal terms) was outpaced by growth in disposable income (+2.2%), leaving households with more net savings than in the previous quarter. Household incomes were primarily bolstered by employees’ rising compensation and increasing transfers received from the government, which were partially offset by a 2.8% rise in personal income taxes.

Consequently, the savings rate reached 14.2%—the fifth consecutive quarter with a double-digit savings rate—as various pandemic-related restrictions and uncertainty continued to limit the scope of household consumption. The household savings rate is aggregated across all income brackets; in general, savings rates are greater in higher income brackets.

Bottom Line

Today’s release is, in some respects, ‘ancient history.’ It is still widely expected that the economy will rebound in the third quarter. With the surge in household savings and continued growth in personal disposable income, pent-up demand is likely to boost consumption for the remainder of this year. All eyes will be on the August employment report released Friday, September 10th. The Bank of Canada will likely continue to proceed cautiously. Another tapering of the bond-buying program will come under scrutiny, and forward guidance will continue to suggest no rate hikes until the second half of next year.

Please Note: The source of this article is from SherryCooper.com/category/articles/ 

Sign up to receive Monthly Home, Lifestyle & Mortgage News here.

18 Aug

Canadian Inflation Hits Highest Reading in Two Decades – August 18 2021

Latest News

Posted by:

AUGUST 18 2021

Annual Inflation Hits 3.7% in Canada–A New Election Issue

This morning’s Stats Canada release showed that the July CPI surged to a 3.7% year-over-year pace, well above the 3.1% pace recorded in June. This is now the fourth consecutive month in which inflation is above the1% to 3% target band of the Bank of Canada. And given the flash election, opposition parties are already making hay. “The numbers released today make it clear that under Justin Trudeau, Canadians are experiencing a cost of living crisis,” Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said in a statement. He went on to suggest that the Liberal government is stoking inflation with its debt-financed government spending programs.

While it is true that deficit spending has surged during the pandemic, the same is also true for nearly every country in the world. Moreover, accelerating inflation is a global phenomenon and most central banks believe it to be temporary. Certainly, Tiff Macklem is firmly of that view, as is the Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

Supply disruptions and base effects have largely caused the rise in inflation. Semiconductor production, for example, slumped during the 2020 lockdowns, and then couldn’t be ramped up fast enough when demand for cars and electronics returned, leading the prices of new and used autos to rise at a record pace. Prices for airfares and hotel stays also jumped. Companies found themselves short of workers as they reopened, leading some to offer bonuses or boost wages and subsequently raise prices for consumers.

Central bankers believe that the price pressures are transitory, representing temporary shocks associated with the reopening of the economy.  Lumber prices, for example, spiked when demand for new homes returned and have since normalized (see the chart below). To be sure, above-target inflation has heightened uncertainty. The central banks do not want to choke off the economic recovery through misplaced inflation fears. Many Canadians remain out of work, and long-term unemployment is still very high. Moreover, the recent surge of the delta variant proves that the recovery is uncertain.

Governor Tiff Macklem, whose latest forecasts show inflation creeping up to 3.9% in the third quarter before easing at the end of the year, has warned against overreacting to the  “temporary” spike.

Shelter Prices Rising Fastest

Prices rose faster year over year in six of the eight major components of Canadian inflation in July, with shelter prices contributing the most to the all-items increase. Conversely, prices for clothing and footwear and alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and recreational cannabis slowed on a year-over-year basis in July compared with June.

Year over year, gasoline prices rose less in July (+30.9%) than in June (+32.0%). A base-year effect continued to impact the gasoline index, as prices in July 2020 increased 4.4% on a month-over-month basis when many businesses and services reopened.

In July 2021, gasoline prices increased 3.5% month over month, as oil production by OPEC+ (countries from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Plus) remained below pre-pandemic levels though global demand increased.

The homeowners’ replacement cost index, which is related to the price of new homes, continued to trend upward, rising 13.8% year over year in July, the largest yearly increase since October 1987.

Similarly, the other owned accommodation expenses index, which includes commission fees on the sale of real estate, was up 13.4% year over year in July.

Year-over-year price growth for goods rose at a faster pace in July (+5.0%) than in June (+4.5%), with durable goods (+5.0%) accelerating the most. The purchase of passenger vehicles index contributed the most to the increase, rising 5.5% year over year in July. The gain was partially attributable to the global shortage of semiconductor chips.

Prices for upholstered furniture rose 13.4% year over year in July, largely due to lower supply and higher input costs.

Core Measures

The average of core inflation readings, a better gauge of underlying price pressures, rose to 2.47% in July, the highest since 2009.

Monthly, prices rose 0.6% versus a consensus estimate of 0.3%. Rising costs to own a home are one of the biggest contributors to the elevated inflation rate, following a surge in real-estate prices over the past year.

Bottom Line

Today’s inflation data likely did little to alter the Bank of Canada’s view that above-target inflation will be a transitory phenomenon. They are already ahead of most central banks in tapering the stimulus coming from quantitative easing. They do not expect to start increasing interest rates until the labour markets have returned to full employment, which they judge to occur in the second half of 2022. In the meantime, pent-up demand in Canada is huge as people tap into their involuntary savings during the lockdown to pay higher prices at restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations. Financial markets appear to be sanguine about the prospect for rate hikes, as bond yields have been trading in a very narrow range.

Please Note: The source of this article is from SherryCooper.com/category/articles/ 

Sign up to receive Monthly Home, Lifestyle & Mortgage News here.

1 Aug

8 Party Tips, Alternative Financing & Canadian Home Sales Slow for Fourth Consecutive Month – August 2021

Monthly Newsletter

Posted by:

AUGUST 2021

Hello!

In this issue:

  • 8 Steps to the Perfect Summer Party!
  • Alternative Financing and What You Should Know
  • Economic Insights with Dr. Sherry Cooper

8 Steps to the Perfect Summer Party!

There’s something magical about summer and no matter where you live in Canada, backyard BBQ season is the perfect opportunity to spend a little time with family and friends. Nothing says party vibes more than food on the grill and summer drinks flowing. Whether you live in a country house, a suburban townhome or a city condo, gather your crew and these few essentials:

  1. Good Food: To have the most success with your backyard party, you must pre-plan! Take a few hours the night before and meal prep. This includes planning an easy menu with bite size snacks, easy salads and flavour packed options to keep your guests satisfied. And don’t forget to make sure the barbecue has plenty of propane!
  2. Cold Drinks: Depending on your guests, you can either have a cooler full of pop and water. If it is a more adult affair, add a little alcohol to the mix! Boozy lemonades or spiked ice teas are pretty easy to make and very fun to drink. Craft beer, ciders or chilled white wine are other fun options for a hot day!
  3. Did Someone Say Dessert? If you’re planning an all-day affair, you might want to keep some quick and easy desserts or snacks on hand for the evening. Homemade ice cream bars, fruit kabobs or a veggie platter, or even a couple bags of kettle chips can make great options for any peckish guests. And as the sun sets, you can break out the marshmallows and get your S’mores on in front of the fire!
  4. Decor & Ambiance: For suburban hosts, your backyard party would include a sitting area, maybe umbrellas to offer some shady spots and some water fun! But, if you find yourself in smaller city digs, that doesn’t mean your party still can’t be one for the ages. Consider throw pillows, paper patio lanterns and plastic glassware which are all affordable and easy to find to help create that perfect party space!
  5. Choosing Your Tunes: While music can set the ambiance, you need to know your guests. It’s not easy to pick a playlist that will appease all ears, but streaming services like Spotify and Apple iTunes have plenty of mixed playlists that should do the trick. Unwind to some of my handpicked favourites here!
  6. Entertainment: Backyard games such as a bocce ball set, Frisbee and even a football can keep the fun and competition going for hours! If you’re looking for a more chill hang, consider setting up a card table or some board games for those who want to partake.
  7. For the Kids: If your party involves kids, you’ll want to keep the food simple and easy to eat with hands, so burgers, hot dogs, chips and some watermelon are the way to go. You’ll also want to keep them occupied with simple games or more active options such as a soccer ball, mini trampoline or a sprinkler to run through and keep them cool. When daylight starts to fade, you can set up a backyard movie or camp-out with some tents to settle the night down. It never hurts to tire the young ones out so the grownups can have some chill time for themselves!
  8. Other Considerations: Depending on the temperature and time of day for your party, you might want to remind guests to bring sunscreen, hats and/or bug spray to make sure their visit is as comfortable as possible!

Alternative Financing and What You Should Know

When conventional lenders (such as banks or credit unions) deny mortgage financing, it can be easy to feel discouraged. However, it is important to remember that there is always an alternative!

If you’re seeking a mortgage, but your credit score is damaged in some way and big institutions won’t lend you the money, you’ll find yourself in what’s commonly referred to in the industry as the “Alternative-A” or “B” lending space.

Much like the A Lender space (big banks, credit unions, etc.), there are various companies which operate in the B lending space. Alternative lenders cater to individuals who lack a strong credit history, or a guaranteed income (recent immigrants, or the self employed, for instance). As a result, these lenders generally have lower entry qualifications, which are offset by higher interest rates.

Why is alternative lending necessary? 

  • CRA arrears
  • Income issues such as non-traditional income as with self-employed borrowers
  • Credit issues such as low credit score, credit arrears, current mortgage or even bankruptcies
  • Unexpected liens on title
  • Foreclosure situations
  • Unique financing needs/opportunities

Beyond B-lenders are another alternative, which are known as Private or Unregulated lenders. These could just be individuals with money who are looking to invest. They are not regulated by any agency, and their rates and fees could be quite high.

These lenders are not required to stress test mortgage applicants, but many will abide by lower qualification rates. As a result, getting approved for a loan through an alternative or uninsured lender can be much easier than going through a traditional bank or credit union. Again, it is vital to pay close attention to the deal an unregulated lender offers. Lower qualification rates tend to come with baggage in the form of high interest rates or penalties.

Considerations for Alternative Mortgages Due to the “B” Lender space, it is important to take a good look at the conditions for these mortgage products to ensure that you won’t get trapped with rates you can’t afford.

Before considering an alternative mortgage, there are a few things you should ask yourself:

  1. What issue is keeping me from qualifying for a mortgage today?
  2. How long will it take me to correct this issue and qualify for a mortgage?
  3. How much do I currently have available as a down payment?
  4. Am I willing to wait until I can qualify for a regular mortgage, or do I want/need to get into a certain home today?

If you are someone who is ready to go ahead with an alternative mortgage due to a bruised credit score, or you don’t want to wait until you’re able to qualify with a traditional lender, these are five questions you should ask when reviewing any alternative mortgage product:

  1. How high is the interest rate?
  2. What is the penalty for missed mortgage payments? How are they calculated? What is the cost to get out of the mortgage altogether?
  3. Is there a prepayment privilege? For example, are you able to avoid penalties if you give the lender a higher mortgage payment once a month?
  4. What is the cost of each monthly mortgage payment?
  5. What does it look like when it comes to renewal?

When it comes to the alternative lending space, things can get a bit murky. If you are struggling to obtain an A-Lender mortgage, I would be happy to discuss your options with you and help you source an alternative. Get in touch!


Economic Insights with Dr. Sherry Cooper

The Slowdown In Canadian Housing Continued in July

Today the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released statistics showing national existing home sales fell 3.5% nationally from June to July 2021–the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Over the same period, the number of newly listed properties dropped 8.8%, and the MLS Home Price Index rose 0.6% and was up 22.2% year-over-year.

While sales are now down a cumulative 28% from the March peak, Canadian housing markets are still historically quite active (see Chart below). In July, the decline in sales activity was not as widespread geographically as in prior months, although sales were down in roughly two-thirds of all local markets. Edmonton and Calgary led the slowdown, but these cities didn’t experience falling sales until recently. In Montreal, in contrast, where sales began to moderate at the start of the year, activity edged up in July.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions in July 2021 was down 15.2% on a year-over-year basis from the record for that month set last July. July 2021 sales nonetheless still marked the second-best month of July on record.

“While the moderation of sales activity continues to capture most of the headlines these days, it’s record-low inventories that should be our focus,” said Cliff Stevenson, Chair of CREA. Most markets are in sellers’ market territory.

New Listings

The number of newly listed homes dropped by 8.8% in July compared to June, with declines led by Canada’s largest cities – the GTA, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. Across the country, new supply was down in about three-quarters of all markets in July.

This was enough to noticeably tighten the sales-to-new listings ratio despite sales activity also slowing on the month. The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 74% in July 2021, up from 69.9% in June. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 54.7%.

Based on a comparison of sales-to-new listings ratio with long-term averages, the tightening of market conditions in July tipped a small majority of local markets back into seller’s market territory, reversing the trend of more balanced markets seen in June.

Another piece of evidence that conditions may be starting to stabilize was the number of months of inventory. There were 2.3 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of July 2021, unchanged from June. This is extremely low – still indicative of a strong seller’s market at the national level and most local markets. The long-term average for this measure is twice where it stands today.

Home Prices

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose 0.6% month-over-month in July 2021, continuing the trend of decelerating month-over-month growth that began in March. That deceleration has yet to show up in any noticeable way on the East Coast, where property is relatively more affordable.

Additionally, a more recent point worth noting (and watching) just in the last month has seen prices for certain property types in certain Ontario markets look like they might be re-accelerating. This could be in line with a re-tightening of market conditions in some areas.

The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up 22.2% on a year-over-year basis in July. While still a substantial gain, it was, as expected, down from the record 24.4% year-over-year increase in June. The reason the year-over-year comparison has started to fall is that we are now more than a year removed from when prices really took off last year, so last year’s price levels are now catching up with this year’s, even though prices are currently still rising from month to month.

Looking across the country, year-over-year price growth averages around 20% in B.C., though it is lower in Vancouver and higher in other parts of the province. Year-over-year price gains in the 10% range were recorded in Alberta and Saskatchewan, while gains are closer to 15% in Manitoba. Ontario sees an average year-over-year rate of price growth in the 30% range. However, as with B.C., gains are notably lower in the GTA and considerably higher in most other parts of the province. The opposite is true in Quebec, where Montreal is in the 25% range, and Quebec City is in the 15% range. Price growth is running a little above 30% in New Brunswick, while Newfoundland and Labrador is in the 10% range.

Bottom Line

Sales activity will continue to gradually cool over the next year, but it will take higher interest rates to soften the housing market in a meaningful way. Local housing markets are cooling off as prospective buyers contend with a dearth of houses for sale. Though increasing vaccination rates have begun to bring a return to normal life in Canada, that’s left the country to contend with one of the developed world’s most severe housing shortages and little prospect of much new supply becoming available soon.

Please Note: The source of this article is from SherryCooper.com/category/articles/ 

Are you reading this newsletter on the web or was it forwarded to you? Sign up to receive Monthly Home, Lifestyle & Mortgage News here.