15 Sep

Insufficient Housing Supply Boosted Home Prices Again In August – September 15 2021

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Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

SEPTEMBER 15 2021

Home Prices Still Rising As Falling Sales Reflect Insufficient Supply

Today the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released statistics showing national existing home sales fell a slight 0.5% nationally from July to August 2021–the fifth consecutive monthly decline. Over the same period, the number of newly listed properties edged up 0.8%, and the MLS Home Price Index rose 0.9% m/m bringing the year-over-year (y/y) rise to 21.3%. Transactions appear to be stabilizing at a more sustainable, but still strong level (see chart below).

Small declines in the GTA and Montreal were offset by gains in the Fraser Valley, Quebec City and Edmonton.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions in August 2021 was down 14% on a year-over-year basis from the record set for that month last August. That said, it was still the second-best month of August in history.

New Listings

The number of newly listed homes ticked 1.2% higher in August compared to July. As with sales activity, it was a fairly even split between markets that saw declines and gains. New supply declines in the GTA and Ottawa were offset by gains in Vancouver and Montreal among bigger Canadian markets.

With both sales and new listings relatively unchanged in August, the sales-to-new listings ratio remained a tight 72.4% compared to 73.6% in July. 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, a small majority of local markets remain in seller’s market territory. The remainder are in balanced territory.

There were 2.2 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of August 2021, down a bit from 2.3 months in July. 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 more than twice where it stands today. It was also the first time since March that this measure of market balance tightened up.

Home Prices

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose 0.9% month-over-month in August 2021. In line with tighter market conditions, this was the first acceleration in month-over-month price growth since February. While the trend of re-accelerating prices was first observed earlier this summer in Ontario, the reversal at the national level in August was less of a regional story and more of a critical mass story. Synchronous trends across the country have been the defining feature of the housing story since COVID-19 first hit, and that still appears to be the case.

The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up 21.3% on a year-over-year basis in August.

Looking across the country, year-over-year price growth is averaging around 20% in B.C., though it is lower in Vancouver, a bit lower in Victoria, and higher in other parts of the province. Year-over-year price gains are in the mid-to-high single digits in Alberta and Saskatchewan, while gains were a little over 10% in Manitoba.

Ontario saw year-over-year price growth still over 20% in August. However, as with B.C. big, medium and smaller city trends, gains are notably lower in the GTA, around the provincial average in Oakville-Milton, Hamilton-Burlington and Ottawa, and considerably higher in most smaller markets in the province.

The opposite is true in Quebec, where Greater Montreal’s year-over-year price growth, at a little over 20%, is almost double that of Quebec City. Price growth is running a little above 30% in New Brunswick (higher in Greater Moncton, a little lower in Fredericton and Saint John), while Newfoundland and Labrador is in the 10% range on a year-over-year basis (a bit lower in St. John’s).

Bottom Line

Local housing markets are cooling off as prospective buyers contend with a dearth of homes 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 despite all of the election promises. As net new immigration resumes, this excess demand in housing will mount. The impediments to a rapid rise in housing supply, both for rent and purchase, are primarily in the planning and approvals process at the municipal levels. Federal election promises do not address these issues.

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

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15 Sep

Canadian Inflation Pressures Mount in August, Even As They Eased In The US – September 15 2021

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Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

SEPTEMBER 15 2021

Annual Inflation In August Rises to 4.1% in Canada–But Are We Close To The Peak?

Today’s release of the August Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Canada posted another uptick in the year-over-year (y/y) inflation rate, but hidden in the details was some support for the Bank of Canada’s position that the spike in inflation is transitory. The Bank has long suggested that the rise in prices will prove to be the result of base effects (y/y comparisons that are biased upward by the temporary decline in prices one year ago), supply disruptions, and the surge in pent-up demand accompanying the reopening of the global economy.

This morning’s Stats Canada release showed that consumer price inflation surged to a 4.1% y/y pace last month, above the 3.7% pace recorded in June, and the 3.1% pace in May. This is now the fifth consecutive month in which inflation is above the 1%-to-3% target band of the Bank of Canada.

The good news, however, is that the monthly rise in prices slowed on a (seasonally adjusted basis) in August to 0.4% compared to the 0.6% rise in July. As well, core measures of inflation preferred by the Bank of Canada, which exclude food and energy, are considerably lower than the all-items measures of the CPI. All three of the BoC’s core inflation measures rose on a y/y basis last month to an average level of 2.6% vs. the all-items level of 4.1%.

The major contributors to the surge in inflation didn’t change in August. Gasoline prices rose a whopping 32.5% y/y, owing to production cuts and disruptions in the wake of Hurricane Ida. This more than offset the decline in demand due to the rise in the Delta variant, causing a sharp slowdown in China and other hard-hit regions. The homeowners’ replacement cost index, related to the price of new and existing homes, rose to 14.3% in August–the largest annual increase since September 1987. Similarly, the other owned accommodation expenses index, which includes commission fees on the sale of real estate, rose 14.3% year over year in August. The easing of travel restrictions boosted demand for airfares and hotel accommodation when labour shortages and rising energy costs pressed these industries. Meat prices have also surged in the past year as restaurant demand spiked. Auto sector prices continued to rise sharply as the inventories of new vehicles, disrupted by the chip shortage, hit new record lows.

Bottom Line

As the first chart below shows, the US has posted the highest level of inflation in the G-7, as the economic rebound there has outpaced that of its counterparts where Covid restrictions were more pervasive. Yet, yesterday’s release of the US August CPI report showed a marked slowdown in inflation pressure, leading some to suggest that the transitory view of inflation has been validated.

One thing to watch, however, is wage rates. Job vacancies and labour shortages have pushed up wages in some sectors, especially in the hardest-hit low-wage hospitality and leisure sectors, including food services and accommodation. If price pressures become validated by enough wage inflation, we run the risk of inflation becoming embedded. Wage-price spiralling has not been a factor since the 1970s when labour unions were much stronger and labour had much more pricing power.

Financial markets appear to be sanguine about the prospect for inflation-induced rate hikes in the near term. Bond yields remain historically low. Next week, we will hear more from the Fed on this subject as the policy-making group releases its report on Wednesday, September 22.

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

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10 Sep

Good News on the Canadian Jobs Front – September 10 2021

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Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

September 10 2021

August Employment Report Showed Continuing Recovery

This morning, Statistics Canada provided us with some much-needed good news on the economic front following last week’s surprisingly dismal Q2 GDP report. Canada’s labour market continued its recovery in August, especially in the hardest-hit food services and accommodation sectors. The August Labour Force Survey (LFS) data reflect conditions during the week of August 15 to 21. By then, most regions of Canada had lifted many of the Covid-related restrictions. However, there were capacity restrictions in such indoor locations as restaurants, gyms, retail stores and entertainment venues. Also, for the first time since March 2020, border restrictions were lifted for fully vaccinated non-essential travellers from the US.

However, the reopening of the Canadian economy has been creaky, owing to supply constraints and difficulty in filling job vacancies in sectors that require high-contact interfaces, especially with the concern regarding a fourth wave of the delta variant. Nevertheless, today’s LFS indicated that employment grew last month by 90,200, the third consecutive monthly gain, further closing the pandemic gap. Employment is now within 156,000 (-0.8%) of its February level, the closest since the onset of the pandemic. Moreover, most of the net new jobs were in full-time work. Increases were mainly in the service sector, led by accommodation and food services.

The jobless rate fell from 7.5% in July to 7.1% in August. The unemployment rate peaked at 13.7% in May 2020 and has trended downward since, despite some short-term increases during the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021. In the months leading up to the pandemic, the unemployment rate had hovered around historic lows and was 5.7% in February 2020.

The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes discouraged workers–those who wanted a job but did not look for one—was 9.1% in August, down 0.4 percentage points from one month earlier.

Employment increased in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia in August. All other provinces recorded little or no change. For the third consecutive month, British Columbia was the lone province with employment above its pre-pandemic level. Compared with February 2020, the employment gap was largest in Prince Edward Island (-3.4%) and New Brunswick (-2.7%). The table below shows the jobless rates by province.

Bottom Line

The Bank of Canada this week once again suggested that it would not begin to tighten monetary policy until the economy returned to full capacity utilization, which they estimate will not be until at least the second half of next year. Employment will need to surpass pre-pandemic levels before complete recovery is declared because the population had grown since the start of the crisis 18 months ago.

Although August was another solid month for the jobs market, there is a wide disparity across sectors of the job market in the degree to which they have recovered from the effects of the pandemic. The table below shows the employment change in percentage terms by sector compared with February 2020.

Sectors where remote work has been widespread–such as professional, scientific and technical services, public administration, finance, insurance and real estate–have seen a net gain in employment. However, in high-touch sectors that were deemed nonessential, the jobs recovery has been far more constrained. This is especially true in agriculture, accommodation and food services, and recreation.

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

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8 Sep

Bank of Canada Stands Pat – September 8 2021

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Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

September 8 2021

Bank of Canada Responds To Weak Q2 Economy–Holding Policy Steady

As we await the quarterly economic forecast in next month’s Monetary Policy Report, the Bank of Canada acknowledged that the Q2 GDP report, released last week, caught them off-guard. In today’s policy statement, the Governing Council of the Bank said, “In Canada, GDP contracted by about 1 percent in the second quarter, weaker than anticipated in the Bank’s July Monetary Policy Report (MPR). This largely reflects a contraction in exports, due in part to supply chain disruptions, especially in the auto sector. Housing market activity pulled back from recent high levels, largely as expected. Consumption, business investment and government spending all contributed positively to growth, with domestic demand growing at more than 3 percent. Employment rebounded through June and July, with hard-to-distance sectors hiring as public health restrictions eased. This is reducing unevenness in the labour market, although considerable slack remains and some groups – particularly low-wage workers – are still disproportionately affected. The Bank continues to expect the economy to strengthen in the second half of 2021, although the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections and ongoing supply bottlenecks could weigh on the recovery” (see chart below).

Bank Says CPI Inflation Boosted By Temporary Factors–Maybe

Financial conditions remain highly accommodative around the globe. And the Bank today continued to assert that the rise in inflation above 3% is expected, “boosted by base-year effects, gasoline prices, and pandemic-related supply bottlenecks. These factors pushing up inflation are expected to be transitory, but their persistence and magnitude are uncertain and will be monitored closely. Wage increases have been moderate to date, and medium-term inflation expectations remain well-anchored. Core measures of inflation have risen but by less than the CPI.”

The Governing Council again stated the Canadian economy still has considerable excess capacity, and the recovery continues to require extraordinary monetary policy support. “We remain committed to holding the policy interest rate at the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2 percent inflation target is sustainably achieved.” Concerning forward guidance, the Bank said, “We remain committed to holding the policy interest rate at the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2 percent inflation target is sustainably achieved. In the Bank’s July projection, this happens in the second half of 2022.” This seems to be a placeholder statement, allowing the Bank to reassess the outlook next month, possibly delaying the guidance if the economy continues to perform below their July projection.

Similarly, the Bank maintains its Quantitative Easing program at the current pace of purchasing $2 billion per week of Government of Canada (GoC) bonds, keeping interest rates low across the yield curve. “Decisions regarding future adjustments to the pace of net bond purchases will be guided by Governing Council’s ongoing assessment of the strength and durability of the recovery. We will continue to provide the appropriate degree of monetary policy stimulus to support the recovery and achieve the inflation objective”.

Bottom Line

Only time will tell if the Bank of Canada is correct in believing that inflation pressures are temporary. Financial markets will remain sensitive to incoming data, but bond markets seem willing to accept their view for now. The 5-year GoC bond yield has edged down from its recent peak of 1.0% posted on June 28th to a current level of .80%. In contrast, the Canadian dollar had weakened significantly since late June when it was over US$0.825 to US$0.787 this morning. Clearly, the Bank of Canada is committed to keeping Canadian interest rates low for the foreseeable future.

The next Bank of Canada policy decision date is October 27th. Stay tuned for the Canadian employment report this Friday.

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

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1 Sep

Buying a Rental Property & 5 Approval Roadblocks – September 2021

Monthly Newsletter

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

SEPTEMBER 2021

Hello!

In this issue:

  • Buying a Rental Property
  • 5 Approval Roadblocks You Should Know

Buying a Rental Property

You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to be one of the uber rich or make six figures to have a second property. You just need to have knowledge, determination and financial planning!

If you are purchasing a secondary property with the intention to rent, here are a few extra things to know:

  1. The minimum down payment required is 20% of the purchase price, and the funds must come from your own savings; you cannot use a gift from someone else.
  2. Only a portion of the rental income can be used for qualifying and determining how much you can afford to borrow. Some lenders will only allow you to use 50% of the income added to yours, while other lenders may allow up to 80% of the rental income while subtracting your expenses. This can have a much higher impact on how much you can afford.
  3. Interest rates typically have a premium on them when the mortgage is for a rental property versus a mortgage for a home someone intends on living in. The premium can be anywhere from 0.10% to 0.20% on a regular 5-year fixed rate.
  4. If you do eventually want to sell this property, do note that it will be subject to capital gains tax. Your accountant will be able to help you with that aspect if you do decide to sell in the future.

Prior to taking on a secondary property, you will need to have your down payment in order (whether from savings or home equity) based on the minimum requirements, and also have sufficient credit score to qualify. In addition to the down payment, you will also need to pass the stress-test and prove that you can financially carry your existing mortgage and the new application.

If you are looking to purchase a rental property, let’s talk before you start. I would love to help review your financial situation, current mortgage and equity, and help you make a plan. The keys to success are right around the corner with a little bit of expert advice!


5 Approval Roadblocks You Should Know

When buying a home, there is nothing worse than having your mortgage broker or lawyer call and say “there is a problem”. If you have found your dream home and negotiated a fair price, and you have supplied all the documentation to your broker, you probably assume everything is fine.

The reality is that your financing approval is based on the information the lender was provided at the time of the application. If there have been any changes to your financial situation, the lender is within their rights to cancel your mortgage approval. To ensure that you don’t encounter any last-minute roadblocks on your home buying journey, there are five major things you must avoid for a smooth transaction:

1. Changes to Your Employment
When submitting a request for financing, whether for a mortgage or car loan or to handle personal debt, one of the most important aspects the lender looks at is employment. If you were working at Company X for five years at $80,000 a year and change jobs before your upcoming mortgage is finalized, the lender will require proof from your new employer. If you change industries, they will need more proof that you are capable of keeping the job. Plus, for employment involving overtime or bonuses, the lender often requests a two-year average, which is not possible from a new position. Another employment change that could hurt your financing approval would be moving from an employee to a self-employed contractor. A good rule of thumb is to wait to make any major employment or life changes until after the deal has gone through.

2. Down Payment Source
As mortgage financing is based on the initial information provided, you will most likely need to do a final verification of the down payment source. If it is different from what the lender has approved, it could spell trouble for your financing approval. Even if you said that your down payment was coming from savings and, at the last minute, mom and dad offer you the funds as a gift, it could affect your approval. This is an acceptable source of down payment, but only if the lender knows about it in advance and has included this in their risk assessment.

3. Existing Debt
A week or two before your possession date, the lender will obtain a copy of your credit report and look for any changes to your debt load. Since mortgage approval is based on how much you owed on that particular date, it is important not to increase your debt before the deal is finalized. Buying a new car or items for the new home must be postponed until after possession; even if they are “do not pay for 12 months” campaigns because you will need to fulfil those payments, regardless of when they start.

4. Bad Credit
One of the biggest roadblocks to mortgage approvals is credit card payments. When you are in the process of getting financing or waiting to take possession of your home, it is important that your credit score remains positive. If your credit score falls due to late payments, this can cause major issues with your financing. Even if you have a high ratio mortgage in place which requires CMHC insurance, a lower credit score could mean a withdrawal of the insurance and removal of any financing approval.

5. Missing Identity Documents
Before a mortgage is finalized, the lawyer is required to verify your identity documents and see that they match the mortgage documents therefore it is important to use your legal name when you apply for a mortgage. Even if you go by your middle name or a nickname, all legal documents should match.

To help avoid last minute roadblocks and catastrophes with your mortgage application, be sure to keep in touch with me at all times during the mortgage process. If there are any changes from your initial mortgage application, it is important to advise them well in advance and to run those changes by me to ensure they will not affect your application. Get in touch!

 

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