26 Jan

No Rate Hike Until March – BoC Assures Inflation Will Return To 2% over 2023-24 – January 26 2022

Latest News

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

JANUARY 26 2022

Bank Will Hike Rates At Next Meeting

While markets were 70% certain the Bank would hike their overnight target rate today, we remained of the view that the Governing Council would hold off until March or April because of the slowdown in first-quarter growth arising from the Omicron restrictions. The Bank announced today that economic slack in the economy had been absorbed more rapidly than expected in late October when they last met. “Employment is above pre-pandemic levels, businesses are having a hard time filling job openings, and wage increases are picking up. Unevenness across sectors remains, the Governing Council judges the economy is now operating close to its full capacity.”

Consequently, the Bank now believes that emergency measures arising from the pandemic are no longer necessary. They clearly state that a rising path for interest rates will be required to moderate domestic spending growth and bring inflation back to target. Being mindful that the increasing spread of Omicron will dampen spending in the first quarter, they decided to keep the policy rate unchanged today and to signal that rates will rise going forward. “The timing and pace of those increases will be guided by the Bank’s commitment to achieving the 2% inflation target.”

Notably, the Bank also suggested that another vital policy measure to reduce demand and thereby control inflation is “quantitative tightening” (Q.T.), reducing the central bank’s holdings of Canadian government bonds on its balance sheet. This selling of bonds also raises interest rates. “The Bank will keep the holdings of Government of Canada bonds on our balance sheet roughly constant at least until we begin to raise the policy interest rate. At that time, we will consider exiting the reinvestment phase and reducing the size of our balance sheet by allowing maturing Government of Canada bonds to roll off. As we have done in the past, before implementing changes to our balance sheet management, we will provide more information on our plans.”

The Bank of Canada is very concerned about maintaining its hard-won inflation-fighting credibility. Remember that while Canadian inflation is at a 30-year high–as it is in the rest of the world–at 4.8%, Canadian inflation pales compared to the 7.0% rate in the U.S. and 6.8% rate in the U.K. (see chart below). It is also below the pace of the Euro area. The Bank stated that “CPI inflation remains well above the target range and core measures of inflation have edged up since October. Persistent supply constraints are feeding through to a broader range of goods prices and, combined with higher food and energy prices, are expected to keep CPI inflation close to 5% in the first half of 2022. As supply shortages diminish, inflation is expected to decline reasonably quickly to about 3% by the end of this year and gradually ease towards the target over the projection period. Near-term inflation expectations have moved up, but longer-run expectations remain anchored on the 2% target. The Bank will use its monetary policy tools to ensure that higher near-term inflation expectations do not become embedded in ongoing inflation.”

Bottom Line

It surprises me that economists in Canada would expect the Bank to hike interest rates during a Covid lockdown without properly measured signalling beforehand. Bay St’s hysteria about inflation seems to have muddied thinking. The Bank will be taking out the big guns to get inflation under control. Overnight rate hikes begin at the next policy meeting on March 2 and then Quantitative Tightening shortly after that. The downsizing of the Bank’s balance could have even more dramatic effects on the shape of the yield curve, hiking longer-term interest rates.

In today’s policy statement and Monetary Policy Report, the Bank emphasized the strength of the housing market and the impact on inflation of the more than 20% rise in Canadian house prices last year. The MPR suggests that housing market activity strengthened again in recent months, led by a rebound in existing home sales.”Low borrowing rates and high disposable incomes continue to contribute to elevated levels of housing activity in the first quarter. At the same time, other factors that support demand, such as population growth, are also now picking up.”

Traders continue to bet that the Bank of Canada will hike interest rates by 25 basis points five or six times this year. This would take the overnight rate from 0.25% to 1.5% to 1.75%. It was 1.75% in February of 2020 before the pandemic easing began. Markets also expect two more rate hikes in 2023, taking the overnight rate to 2.25%.

Volatility in financial markets has surged this year. The FOMC, the US policy-making body, announces its decision at 2 PM ET today. No rate hike is expected yet, but the Fed will undoubtedly commit to serious rate hikes and balance sheet contraction in the coming months.

Please note: The source of this article is from Sherry Cooper


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19 Jan

Pantone of the Year 2022

General

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

The Pantone Color Institute has published their 2022 Pantone trends with Spring and Summer colours that reflect our aspiration for balance. These colours highlight our need for clarity, security and comfort allowing us to satisfy our urges to remain with what is familiar. In addition, these colours bring together a balance of joyful adventure through soothing and timeless hues.

Some of the more distinctive tones for early 2022 blend colour and familiarity with the unexpected and include pastel blues and pinks, along with vibrant roses, blues and yellows paired with soft mochas and teals. These are balanced with classic beiges, whites and greens for a balanced palette with a splash of colour and excitement!

If you’re looking for ideas on how to incorporate this year’s Pantone palette, some easy options include: adding a fresh coat of paint to your bedroom or living space, spicing up your furniture with new throw pillows or reupholstering your sofa and seating area to add a splash of freshness! You can also consider reviving your curtains with new tones or swapping out your rug to add in powerful accent hues.


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17 Jan

December Home Sales Top Off Record Year – January 17 2022

Latest News

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

JANUARY 17 2022

Housing Affordability Erodes Further With Record-Low Supply

Housing affordability remains a huge political issue and with the Department of Finance working on the upcoming budget, no doubt measures to reduce home prices will be front and center. What we desperately need is dramatic increases in new housing construction, which has been woefully constrained by local zoning and city planning issues. These are not under the auspices of the federal government. So instead, bandaid measures that do not directly address the fundamental issue of a housing shortage will likely be forthcoming. More on that below. 
 
Today the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released statistics for December 2021 showing national existing-home sales rose edged higher on a month-over-month basis, constrained by limited supply. Excess demand pushed home prices up on the month by 2.5%, taking the 2021 home price index up a record 26.6% year-over-year.

Small gains in home sales in November and December followed a 9% surge in activity in October, placing sales in the final quarter of 2021between the highs and lows seen earlier and the year (see chart below). With the exception of month-over-month sales gains in Calgary and the Fraser Valley, most other large markets mirrored the national trend of little change between November and December. The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions in December 2021 came in 9.9% below the record for that month set in 2020. That said, as has been the case throughout the second half of 2021, it was still the second-highest level on record for the month.

On an annual basis, a total of 666,995 residential properties traded hands via Canadian MLS® Systems in 2021. This was a new record by a large margin, surpassing the previous annual record set in 2020 by a little more than 20%, and standing 30% above the average of the last 10 years.

New Listings

The number of newly listed homes fell 3.2% in December compared to November, with declines in Greater Vancouver, Montreal and a number of other areas in Quebec more than offsetting an increase in new supply in the GTA.

With sales little changed and new listings down in December, the sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 79.7% compared to 77% in November. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 54.9%.

Almost two-thirds of local markets were sellers’ markets based on the sales-to-new listings ratio being more than one standard deviation above its long-term mean in December 2021. The remaining one-third of local markets were in balanced market territory.

There were just 1.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of December 2021 — the lowest level ever recorded. The long-term average for this measure is a little more than 5 months.

Home Prices

In line with the tightest market conditions ever recorded, the Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) was up another 2.5% on a month-over-month basis in December 2021.

The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up by a record 26.6% on a year-over-year basis in December.

Looking across the country, year-over-year price growth has crept back above 25% in B.C., though it remains lower in Vancouver, close to on par with the provincial number in Victoria, and higher in other parts of the province.

Year-over-year price gains are still in the mid-to-high single digits in Alberta and Saskatchewan, while gains are running at about 12% in Manitoba.

Ontario saw year-over-year price growth remain above 30% in December, with the GTA continuing to surge ahead after trailing other parts of the province for most of the pandemic.

Greater Montreal’s year-over-year price growth remains at a little over 20%, while Quebec City was only about half that.

Price growth is running above 30% in New Brunswick (higher in Greater Moncton, lower in Fredericton and Saint John), while Newfoundland and Labrador is now at 11% year-over-year.

Bottom Line–We Are In The Political Season

The Bank of Canada conducted a recent study of residential mortgage originations at federally regulated financial institutions since 2014 to determine the share and financial characteristics of mortgage-financed homebuying by type of purchaser: first-time homebuyers; repeat buyers (the so-called move-up market); and investors.

First-time homebuyers are the largest group, generally accounting for roughly half of all mortgage purchases since 2014. Repeat homebuyers (those that discharged their previous mortgage when they took a new mortgage) comprised 31% of all mortgaged buyers over the same period. Investors having multiple mortgages represent 19% of purchases since 2014. Investors without mortgages are not included in the data, so foreign investors who might have borrowed money outside of Canada are not included.

The chart below shows that since 2015, the share of first-time homebuyers has fallen from over 52% to less than 48% of all mortgaged homebuying, while the share of repeat buyers is up slightly, and the share of investors has risen from under 18% to over 20%. Most of the rise in investor activity was in 2017 and 2021.

The Bank of Canada concludes that the increased presence of investors in the housing market has augmented demand and “may reflect a belief that house prices will continue to rise in value…By exacerbating so-called boom-bust cycles in housing markets, investors could thus be a source of instability for the financial system and the economy more broadly. At the same time, investors are an important source of housing rental supply. We need to do further research to examine the delicate balance between adding to rental supply while removing new builds and resale supply in a housing market that already has supply constraints.”

The Ministry of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, in partnership with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), according to a Financial Post article dated January 12, is concerned about “speculative investing” in housing, “prompting Canadians to overbid on properties, borrow beyond what they can afford, and push home prices even higher.”

“By developing policies to curb excessive profits in investment properties, protecting small independent landlords and Canadian families, and reviewing the down payment requirements for investment properties, we are targeting the issues the market is facing from multiple angles.” Currently, investors must make a 20% down payment.

It looks like the Feds may well raise the minimum downpayments on investment property loans. They are also considering a limitation on the sources of funding for these properties.

What the Canadian housing market needs is substantial new affordable housing construction. Impeding this is the long and tortuous planning process and local government zoning rules. Actions taken to reduce housing demand in the face of nearly a million new immigrants coming to Canada in 2021 and 2022, if severe enough, could throw the whole economy into recession, particularly given that the Bank of Canada is on the precipice of hiking interest rates. The wealth and liquidity of millions of Canadian households are tied up in housing, so the government must take care not to push demand restrictions too far, especially since condo investments augment the very tight rental markets.

Please note: The source of this article is from Sherry Cooper


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15 Jan

Get Better Credit With The 5 C’s

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

Buying your first home is an incredible step in life, but it is not without its hurdles! One of which is demonstrating that you are creditworthy, which all comes down to your ability to manage credit. This is how lenders and credit agencies determine the interest rate you pay. A higher credit rating could mean a lower interest rate and save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.

There are several attributes that lenders consider before granting credit, and these are commonly referred to as the “Five C’s” and consist of: 

  • CharacterCapacity
  • CapitalCollateral and 
  • Conditions.

Let’s take a closer look at each:

Character: The first C focused on YOU and your personal habits, which comes down to whether or not it is in your nature to pay debts on time. The determining factors for your credit character include the following:

  • Whether you habitually pay your bills on time
  • Whether you have any delinquent accounts
  • Your total outstanding debt
  • How you use your available credit:
    • Quick Tip: Using all or most of your available credit is not advised. It is better to increase your credit limit versus utilizing more than 70% of what is available each month. For instance, if you have a limit of $1000 on your credit card, you should never go over $700.
    • If you need to increase your score faster, a good place to start is using less than 30% of your credit limit.
    • If you need to use more, pay off your credit cards early so you do not go above 30% of your credit limit.

Capacity: The second component relating to your credit rating is your capacity. This refers to your ability to pay back the loan and factors in your cash flow versus your debt outstanding, as well as your employment history.

  • How long have you been with your current employer?
  • If you are self-employed, for how long?

Don’t be confused as capacity is not what YOU think you can afford; it is what the LENDER has determined that you can afford depending on your debt service ratio. This ratio is used by lenders to take your total monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income to determine whether or not you are able to pay back the loan.

Capital: Capital is the amount of money that a borrower puts towards a potential loan. In the case of mortgages, the starting capital is your down payment. A larger contribution often results in better rates and, in some cases, better mortgage terms. For instance, a mortgage with a down payment of 20% does not require default insurance, which is an added cost. When considering this component, it is a good idea to look at how much you have saved and where your down payment funds will be coming from. Is it a savings account? RRSPs? Or maybe it is a gift from an immediate family member.

Collateral: Collateral is what is pledged against a loan for security of repayment. In the case of auto loans, the loan is typically secured by the vehicle itself as the vehicle would be repossessed and re-sold in the event that the loan is defaulted on. In the case of mortgages, lenders typically consider the value of the property you are purchasing and other assets. They want to see a positive net worth; a negative net worth may result in being denied for a mortgage. Overall, loans with collateral backing are typically more secure and generally result in lower interest rates and better terms.

Conditions: The conditions of the loan can also influence the lender’s desire to provide financing. Conditions can include: interest rate, terms, length of loan and amount of principle needed. Typically lenders are more likely to approve specific-loans, such as a car loan or home improvement loan or mortgage as these have a specific purpose, as opposed to a signature loan.

There is no better time than now to recognize the importance of your credit score and check if you are on track with the Five C’s and your debt habits. A misstep in any one of these areas could be detrimental to your efforts to get a mortgage. If you are not sure or want more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me today to determine your current credit score and if there are areas for improvement to help you get a better interest rate and mortgage.


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8 Jan

Improving Your Financial Direction

General

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

Make 2022 the year of finance by improving your financial direction from the start!

Even if you are living paycheque-to-paycheque, a few changes to the way you spend and look at money can make all the difference. It’s never too late to start again and reverse course! Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:

  • Create a Budget: In order to stop living paycheque-to-paycheque, you need to know where that paycheque is going. Creating a budget is simple with Google docs, or look into other online tools and sites to get started. Check out this post for an in-depth look at budgeting! 
     
  • Pretend You Earn Less Than You Do: Give yourself a cut in pay. The goal is to put 10% in savings from each paycheque into your savings account. The easiest way is to do an automatic direct transfer from your chequing account to your savings every pay period.
     
  • Pay Down Debt: If you have a lot of credit card or unsecured debt, try paying the minimum on all but one of them and aggressively pay down that one card. Once it’s paid off, attack the next one. If you’re so deep in debt that you can’t fight your way out, consider consulting with myself or your financial advisor about your debt consolidation options and if your mortgage can be used to help you clean the slate. We will be able to review your debt and possibly recommend a way to consolidate it into one simple payment with a single point of interest charge.
     
  • Build an Emergency Fund: Once you have your budget in place, review it and break it down into non-discretionary expenses (rent, groceries, utilities, etc.) and discretionary expenses (eating out, entertainment, clothes, etc.). See where you can cut down on discretionary spending and put that money towards your emergency fund. Even starting with just a little amount is great and helps you build the habit of saving.
     
  • Don’t Forget Your Future: Putting at least 3% of your paycheque into a retirement fund is a great idea, or maybe when you get your first raise instead of thinking of it as free money, simply put it into a fund and forget about it. You’ll be glad it’s there when you need it in the future.
     
  • Consider Downsizing: It may be time to consider a lifestyle change. Consider moving to a smaller place. Get rid of the cost of going to that expensive gym with a trip to the local park. Think about if you really need that brand new car or if a used one would work just as well.

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1 Jan

Housing Market Predictions?

General

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

According to the 2022 Canadian Housing Market Outlook Report from RE/MAX, steady growth is anticipated across the Canadian real estate landscape into 2022. While Canadians continue to recognize the value and investment potential of their home, market challenges (such as rising prices and limited supply) maintain their impact on local markets. 

It is estimated that Canada will witness an approximate 9.2% increase in average housing prices across the country as a result.

One of the key trends we see continue from 2021 into 2022 is inter-provincial migration occurring in many regions as a result of supply and affordability of homes across Canada. Individuals are also looking for larger homes with more space for growing families. While there is potential for the real estate conditions to continue to shift, 49% of respondents view Canadian real estate as a top investment option and believe the market will remain steady throughout 2022.

Below are some key regional forecasts from Moody’s Analytics and Real Property Solutions (RPS) for 2022:

  • British Columbia: Housing markets in BC are also overvalued, particularly in Vancouver and other metro areas. As a result, these areas will continue to have a downward pull on housing prices due to reduced affordability.
     
  • Alberta & Saskatchewan: Currently considered “undervalued” housing markets, they are likely to do better despite weaker economics as they have retained better affordability.
     
  • Manitoba: Lifestyle shifts, such as hybrid working environments and younger couples enjoying the freedom to work from home, predicts that Winnipeg will continue to be a seller’s market through 2022 with high demand for one- and two-story detached homes.
    • Ontario: Smaller metro areas (Brantford, Kitchener, Kingston, London, Windsor and Ottawa) are expecting the strongest house price appreciation rates. With regards to The Greater Toronto Area, this region currently suffers from over evaluation. However, housing prices have shown less sensitivity to this based on historical data so they are likely to experience less downward pressure.

  • Quebec: This province presents important contrasts as Montreal is the only metro area in Quebec not in the correctly valued range (plus or minus 10%), and will experience a downward pull on housing prices due to reduced affordability.
     
  • Nova Scotia & New Brunswick: The highest home price appreciation is expected to occur in the metro areas of Moncton and Halifax.
     
  • Newfoundland & Labrador: Aside from the Prairies, this Atlantic province is expected to see housing price growth move at a faster rate.

If you are looking to buy, sell or simply review or renew your mortgage, please do not hesitate to reach out to me! I would be happy to review your situation with you and help you make the best decision for you and your family now, and into the future. 


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