18 May

Canadian Inflation Beats Expectations – May 18 2022

Latest News

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

MAY 18 2022

Canadian Inflation Shows No Signs Of Abating

Inflation at 6.8% is unmitigated bad news. The Bank of Canada looks flat-footed again, having forecast that Inflation would be at least a full percentage point lower by now. What’s worse, inflation looks likely to rise again this month given the surge in gasoline prices from April to May.

Today’s report raises the urgency for policymakers to withdraw stimulus from the economy quickly. Look for another 50 bp rate hike on June 1 and again in July. Markets are pricing in an overnight rate as high as 3% by the end of the year. It is currently at 1%. 

In April, Canadian consumer prices rose 6.8% y/y, up slightly from March’s 6.7% pace despite a slowdown in the pace of gasoline inflation. The April inflation rise was driven mainly by food and shelter prices. Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose 5.8% in April, after a 5.5% gain in March. This was the fastest pace since the introduction of the all-items excluding gasoline special aggregate in 1999.

Since late February, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has boosted energy, commodity, and, most notably, food prices.

The Canadian economy’s strength has added to inflation pressure. The unemployment rate is at a record low. Average hourly wages rose 3.3% y/y last month. With prices rising faster than wages, Canadian families are experiencing reduced purchasing power.

In April, Canadians paid 9.7% more for food purchased from stores compared with April 2021. This rise, which exceeded 5% for the fifth month in a row, was the most significant increase since September 1981.

In April, shelter costs rose 7.4% y/y, the fastest pace since June 1983, following a 6.8% increase in March. Higher prices for energy sources used to heat homes, such as natural gas (+22.2%) and fuel oil and other fuels (+64.4%), contributed to the rise.

Reflecting the dynamic Canadian housing market, homeowners’ replacement cost (+13.0%) is related to the price of new homes and other owned accommodation expenses (+17.2%), which include commissions on the sale of real estate; both rose sharply in April.

The mortgage interest cost Index (+0.2%) increased on a m/m basis for the first time since April 2020.

Rent prices increased in April (+4.5%) compared with the same month in 2021. The rent hike was mostly driven by price increases in Canada’s most populous provinces: Ontario (+5.3%), Quebec (+4.3%) and British Columbia (+6.4%).

While monthly, Inflation slowed in April (0.6%) compared to March (1.4%), the surge in gasoline price in May portends continued high Inflation in next month’s CPI report.

Bottom Line

Bloomberg News reported this morning that “The inflation surge has made the Bank of Canada a target of criticism, with some politicians accusing Macklem of moving too slowly. Immediately after the inflation data was published, Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre released a statement reiterating he plans to fire Macklem should he ever win power.”  

The pressure is on for more rate hikes. Central banks all over the world are under similar pressure. Central bank tightening will slow demand, as we have seen already in the Canadian housing data for March and April. It does not address the supply disruptions that are the root cause of much of the inflation pressure.

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


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17 May

Canadian Home Sales Slow As Mortgage Rates Rise – May 17 2022

Latest News

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

MAY 17 2022

Canadian Housing Market Feels The Pinch of Higher Rates

Statistics released yesterday by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that the slowdown that began in March in response to higher interest rates has broadened. In April, national home sales dropped by 12.6% on a month-over-month (m/m) basis. The decline placed the monthly activity at its lowest level since the summer of 2020 (see chart below).

While the national decline was led by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) simply because of its size, sales were down in 80% of local markets, with most other large markets posting double-digit month-over-month declines in April. The exceptions were Victoria, Montreal and Halifax-Dartmouth, where sales edged up slightly.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions in April 2022 came in 25.7% below the record for that month set last year. As has been the case since last summer, it was still the third-highest April sales figure ever behind 2021 and 2016.

Jill Oudil, Chair of CREA, said, “Following a record-breaking couple of years, housing markets in many parts of Canada have cooled off pretty sharply over the last two months, in line with a jump in interest rates and buyer fatigue. For buyers, this slowdown could mean more time to consider options in the market. For sellers, it could necessitate a return to more traditional marketing strategies.”

“After 12 years of ‘higher interest rates are just around the corner,’ here they are,” said Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist. “But it’s less about what the Bank of Canada has done so far. It’s about a pretty steep pace of continued tightening that markets expect to play out over the balance of the year because that is already being factored into fixed mortgage rates. Of course, those have, for that very reason, been on the rise since the beginning of 2021, so why the big market reaction only now? It’s likely because typical discounted 5-year fixed rates have, in the space of a month, gone from the low 3% range to the low 4% range. The stress test is the higher of 5.25% or the contract rate plus 2%. For fixed borrowers, the stress test has just moved from 5.25% to the low 6% range – close to a 1% increase in a month! It won’t take much more movement by the Bank of Canada for this to start to affect the variable space as well”.

New Listings

The number of newly listed homes edged back by 2.2% on a month-over-month basis in April. The slight monthly decline resulted from a relatively even split between markets where listings rose and those where they fell. Notable declines were seen in the Lower Mainland and Calgary, while listings increased in Victoria and Edmonton.

With sales falling by more than new listings in April, the sales-to-new listings ratio eased back to 66.5% – its lowest level since June 2020. This reading is right on the border between what would constitute a seller’s and a balanced market. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 55.2%.

More than half of local markets were balanced based on the sales-to-new listings ratio being between one standard deviation above or below the long-term average in April 2022. A little less than half were in seller’s market territory.

There were 2.2 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of April 2022, still historically very low but up from slightly lower readings in the previous eight months. The long-term average for this measure is a little over five months.

Home Prices

The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was still up by 23.8% on a year-over-year basis in April, although this was a marked slowdown from the near-30% record increase logged just two months earlier.

Bottom Line

The fever broke in the Canadian housing market last month. Nevertheless, despite the sizeable two-month slide in sales, activity is still almost 10% above pre-COVID levels and the raw April sales tally was still one of the highest on record.

Markets in Ontario are weakening most, significantly further outside the core of Toronto. Sales in the province slid 21% in April and are now in line with pre-pandemic activity levels. The market balance has gone from drum tight with “not enough supply” to one that resembles the 2017-19 correction period. Elsewhere, Vancouver and Montreal look better with relatively balanced markets, while others like Alberta and parts of Atlantic Canada remain pretty strong.

The Bank of Canada will likely hike interest rates by another 50 bps on June 1.

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


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15 May

Why you need a home inspection.

Home Tips

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

A home inspection isn’t a legal requirement when you buy a home in Canada. Yet, it’s certainly a wise decision for the largest purchase you will likely ever make.

Here are five reasons why you should opt for a home inspection when buying a home, even if it is a brand-new build.

1. Things unseen

The home you want to buy may have a gorgeous skylight, cathedral ceilings and a huge primary bedroom.  But the home’s aesthetics can hide big problems.

When you tour a house, you aren’t climbing into the crawl space or looking at the furnace. A home inspector isn’t wowed by beautiful staging. He or she will look at what’s in your walls, not what’s on them.

2. Realistic budget for home maintenance

Many home inspections include the items that will need to be replaced within the next five years.

Paying for a home inspection can help you come up with a realistic home maintenance budget. If you know that the windows and roof are nearing the end of their lifespan, you can plan for that.

3. A solid negotiation tool

Getting a home inspection gives you a huge amount of leverage. You can ask the sellers to fix some or all of the issues found during the inspection. Or you can renegotiate the sale price or ask the seller to contribute more towards closing costs.

With a home inspection, you have the upper hand in the deal. This gives you a lot of power to get a better deal on the purchase. Of course, you can also choose to back out of the sale if there are big, expensive issues that you’d rather not deal with.

4. Can be an eye-opener

A home inspection will reveal the big picture when you might be focused on the location and the open kitchen plan. You don’t want to be blind to the potentially big issues like foundation cracks or electrical problems that can lurk unseen.

5. Peace of mind

Lastly, and most importantly, a home inspection gives you peace of mind. You’ll be able to finalize the sale of a home knowing exactly what you’re getting yourself into. That way, you don’t uncover any major surprises shortly after moving in—even new builds are subject to issues.


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10 May

April home sales slid in most metro areas, but prices held their ground…for now – May 10 2022

Latest News

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

MAY 10 2022

Housing data from April showed home sales were down in most major metro markets in the country, with Toronto sales leading the way, down over 41% year-over-year.

Average prices, meanwhile, were down on a monthly basis in the Greater Toronto Area, but continued to rise in most other urban markets outside of Ontario.

The GTA saw the largest retreat in prices, which were down 3.5% from March, but still up 15% year-over-year. Ottawa also saw prices dip 2.7% from March, but were up 13% from a year ago.

Elsewhere, Vancouver prices were still up 1% month-over-month, while Calgary saw a 1.6% increase and Montreal experienced a 2.5% rise in single-detached home prices.

While February is so far looking like a peak for national home prices, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association, prices are still up in cities outside of Ontario.

Here’s a look at the percentage change in average headline prices in April compared to February:

  • Greater Toronto Area: -6%
  • Greater Vancouver Area: +5%
  • Montreal Census Metro Area: +5%
  • City of Calgary: +5%
  • City of Ottawa: -1%

But, as real estate analyst Ben Rabidoux of Edge Realty Analytics points out, some of these figures might be misleading.

“House price indexes do a poor job of picking up sharp inflection points. Prices are already down from the February peak in major markets, but it will take several months before this shows up in HPI data,” he wrote in his latest newsletter.

“Price gains nationally are moderating, and may register declines later this year,” he added. “Market balance is weakening, but with months of inventory still just 1.8, it will take several more months of deteriorating trends before headline prices officially print negative.”

Here’s a look at the April statistics from some of the country’s largest regional real estate boards:

Greater Toronto Area

Sales: 8,008

  • -41.2% (YoY)
  • -27% month-over-month (MoM)

MLS Home Price Index: $1,254,436

  • +15% (YoY)
  • -3.5% (MoM)

New Listings: 18,413

  • -11.7% (YoY)
  • -8.1% (MoM)

“Despite slower sales, market conditions remained tight enough to support higher selling prices compared to last year. However, in line with TRREB’s forecast, there is evidence of buyers responding to increased choice in the marketplace, with the average and benchmark prices dipping month-over-month. It is anticipated that there will be enough competition between buyers to support continued price growth relative to 2021, but the annual pace of growth will moderate in the coming months,” said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.

Source: Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB)


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9 May

Canadian Labour Market Tightens As Unemployment Rate Hits New Low – May 9 2022

Latest News

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

MAY 9 2022

Labour Market Bumps Up Against Capacity Constraints

Job vacancies abound in many sectors, yet employers have trouble finding workers to fill those jobs and retaining workers with so many options available. As the jobless rate falls to new record lows, net new employment has slowed. This is not dissimilar to the housing market, where supply is insufficient to meet demand. Home sales are slowing in response to very low inventories, which are now compounded by rising mortgage rates.

Statistics Canada released the April Labour Force Survey this morning, reporting a slowdown in job gains to 15,300, a mere fraction of the 72,500 jump last month and the whopping 337,000 surge in February. The April figure was way below the 40,000 rise anticipated by economists.

After reaching a record low of 5.3% in March, the unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to a series-low of 5.2% last month, compared to the 5.7% level posted before the pandemic. There is considerable excess demand for workers as the economy failed to produce any new growth in labour supply. In April, hours worked declined 1.9%, reflecting a jump in Covid-related absences and disability.

Increases in employment in professional, scientific and technical services and public administration were offset by construction and retail trade declines. These two sectors are reporting significant labour shortages. The federal government hopes to double the housing supply over the next decade, but to do so, homebuilders need many more construction workers.

More people worked in the Atlantic region and Alberta, while employment fell in Quebec. At the national level, employment gains among core-aged women aged 25 to 54 were offset by a decrease among core-age men.

Average hourly wages were up 3.3% (+$0.99 to $31.06) year over year, similar to the growth observed in March (+$1.03; +3.4%). Since consumer prices have risen 6.7% year-over-year, wages are not keeping up with inflation.

Many signs have pointed to an increasingly tight labour market in recent months. In addition to increases in full-time work, one aspect of this tightening has been a decrease in part-time workers reporting that they would prefer full-time employment. The involuntary part-time employment rate fell to 15.7% in April 2022, the lowest level on record. The involuntary part-time rate had been elevated over the first 18 months of the pandemic and peaked at 26.5% in August 2020, as many workers faced challenges securing full-time employment.

There are signs that wage inflation could accelerate in response to continued high job vacancy rates and tightening labour supply.

Bottom Line

Mounting inflation pressure point to another 50 basis point hike in the overnight rate when the Bank of Canada meets again on June 1. Governor Mackem has stated that a full half-point increase will be in play. That will take the policy rate up to 1.5%, compared to 1.75% immediately before the pandemic. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated supply disruptions and markedly increased key commodity prices. Canada’s economy remains strong–the strongest in the G-7–owing to the relatively large commodity sector. Markets expect the overnight rate to hit close to 3% by yearend. However, the Bank will adjust its plans based on incoming data. Preliminary evidence suggests that housing activity weakened in April due to rising mortgage rates and insufficient supply.

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


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7 May

Required Documents

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

Documents Required to Qualify for a Mortgage

Mortgages can sometimes feel like endless stacks of paperwork and PDF documents, but being prepared in advance can save you time and stress! Getting your mortgage pre-approved is part of this prep-process, and will make things easier in the long run.

In order to get pre-approved and secure a Rate-hold, I will need to review and assess your supporting  documents outlined below. It is important to ensure you’re pre-approved and have a Rate-hold secured (for up to 120 days), before moving ahead and working with your Realtor to find your new property.

To prepare for the mortgage pre-approval process, there are a few must-have documents that you will need to organize and have available prior to submission.

  1. Letter of Employment: One of the key aspects for financing approval is employment stability. Lenders want to see a letter from your employer (on company letterhead) that details when you started working at this company, how much you make per hour or your annual salary, your guaranteed hours per week, and any probation if you are new. This can be completed by your direct manager or the company HR department.
  2. Previous Two Pay Stubs: In addition to the employment letter, you must also provide your most recent two pay stubs. These must indicate the company name, your name and all tax deductions.
  3. Supporting Documents for Additional Income: If you have any other income, such as child support, long-term disability, EI, part-time income, etc., the lender will want to see any and all supporting documentation for verification.
    1. Note: If you are divorced or separated and paying child support, it is important to also bring your finalized and signed separation or divorce agreement. In some cases, they may request a statutory declaration from your lawyer.
  4. Notice of Assessment (NOA) from Canada Revenue Agency: Lenders will also want to see your tax assessment for the previous year. If you do not have a copy, you can request one from the CRA by mail (4-6 weeks) or you can login to your online CRA account to access it.
  5. Your Previous Years T4: Along with your tax filing and assessment notice, lenders will also want to see your previous years T4 slip to confirm your income.
  6. 3-Month (90 day) Bank Account History: Lastly, it is important for lenders to see 90 days history of bank statements for any funds that you are using towards the down payment. As saving up for a down payment takes time, there should be no issues providing these documents. If you received the money from the sale of a house or car, or as a gift from your family, you will need proof of that in the form of sales documents or a gift letter.

The above documents are required for any potential buyer who is a typical, full-time employee. But what if you only work part-time? Or maybe you are self-employed? Here is what you will need:

Part-time employee

You will still require all of the above documents (letter of employment, previous pay stubs, supporting documents for any additional income and 90 days of bank history).

However, the difference between a full-time employee and a part-time employee, is that if you only work part-time, you will need to supply THREE years worth of Notice of Assessments, versus just one. You will also need to have been working for at least two years in the same job to use part-time income.

If you have both a full-time and a part-time job, you can use that income too, assuming it has been at least two years.

Self-employed

If you are self-employed, the requirements for documents to lenders is slightly different. You will need to provide them:

  1. 3-Month (90 day) Bank Account History: Lenders need to see 90 days history of bank statements for any funds that you are using towards the down payment.
  2. T1 Generals: Also known as the Income Tax and Benefit Return
  3. Statement of Business Activities: This is used to illustrate the business income versus expenses and should include financial statements for your business.
  4. Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency: Similarly to part-time income, if you are self-employed you will also need to provide the previous three years of assessments.
  5. If Incorporated: You will need to supply your incorporation license and articles of incorporation.

Here’s a condensed list of some of the documents typically needed depending on your situation:

  • Agreement of Purchase and Sale
  • MLS Listing
  • Contact information for your lawyer: name, address, and phone number  (Don’t have a Real Estate Lawyer? I’d be happy to introduce you to one!)
  • 2 pieces of personal identification for all parties involved
  • Income and employment verification
  • Recent pay stub(s)
  • Letter of employment
  • T4(s)
  • Notice of Assessment(s) if self employed (NOAs)
  • Proof of Down Payment: 3-month history of savings/investments
  • Gift letter with bank statement
  • Void cheque
  • Copy of home insurance policy

When it comes to mortgages, preparation is key. By completing the pre-approval process and securing your Rate-hold, it can prevent any delays or issues with subject-to-financing clauses in the mortgage agreement. While you can walk into a bank, fill in an application and get a rate for a potential mortgage, this is just a ‘rate hold’ meaning it is a quote on the rate so you can qualify for the same rate later. This is not a pre-approval and does not guarantee financing.

To save yourself the headache down the line, get in touch today to start the pre-approval process! Plus, in most cases, my services are free to you. 


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5 May

Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

Mortgages in Canada are generally amortized between 25 and 35 year terms. While this seems like a long time, it does not have to take anyone that long to pay off their mortgage if they choose to do so in a shorter period of time.

With a little bit of thinking ahead, and a small bit of sacrifice, most people can manage to pay off their mortgage in a much shorter period of time by taking positive steps such as:

  • Making mortgage payments each week, or even every other week. Both options lower your interest paid over the term of your mortgage and can result in the equivalent of an extra month’s mortgage payment each year. Paying your mortgage in this way can take your mortgage from 25 years down to approximately 21.
  • When your income increases, increase the amount of your mortgage payments. Let’s say you get a 5% raise each year at work. If you put that extra 5% of your income into your mortgage, your mortgage balance will drop much faster without feeling like you are changing your spending habits.
  • Mortgage lenders will also allow you to make extra payments on your mortgage balance each year. Just about everyone finds themselves with money they were not expecting at some point or another. Maybe you inherited some money from a distant relative or you received a nice holiday bonus at work. Apply this money to your mortgage as a lump-sum payment and watch the results.

By applying these strategies consistently over time, you will save money, pay less interest and pay off your mortgage years faster!


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1 May

Second Homes, Vacation Homes & Investment Properties

Buying Property

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

So, you are looking to purchase another property! Congratulations! This is a great opportunity for you to expand your financial portfolio and ensure stability for the future. However, before you launch into this purchase there are a few things you should know, depending on which type of property you are looking to purchase.

SECOND PROPERTY WITH INTENTION TO RENT

Buying a property for the purpose of renting it out to someone else comes with different qualifying criteria and mortgage product options than traditional home purchases. Before you look at purchasing a rental property, there are a few things to consider:

  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 to qualify and determine 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 and subtract your expenses.
  3. Interest rates usually have a premium 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.

Rental income from the property can be used to debt service the mortgage application, but do bear in mind that some lenders will have a minimum liquid net worth requirement outside of the property. Also, if you do eventually want to sell this property 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.

VACATION PROPERTY

While vacation properties are not always the perfect investment, they are popular options for people who want to get away from it all and build memories in! If you’re motivated to head down that road, buying a vacation property is essentially like purchasing a second home.

If you are considering buying a unit within a hotel as a vacation spot (known as “fractional ownership”), it is important to note that if there is any mention of using your vacation home to provide rental income it will be treated like an investment property.

If you are dreaming of your very own vacation home, there are ways to make it happen! Let me walk you through your options.

When it comes to taking on a vacation property, you will need to have a minimum down payment of 5% of the purchase price. If you are purchasing a non-winterized vacation home, or will not have year-round access, then you will be required to put down 10%. 

You must also have sufficient credit score to qualify if not putting 20% down. In addition to the down payment, you will also need to pass the stress-test and prove that you can financially carry the mortgage of your existing live-in home and your new vacation home.

When purchasing a vacation home or property, most lenders will allow you to borrow money against the equity you have in your current home and use it as a down payment for a second home. This is done through mortgage refinancing, which means getting a re-evaluation on your home and then redoing your mortgage based on the current value. This will allow you to tap into the equity your home has built over the years, and pull out the extra funds for a down payment on your secondary property. Keep in mind, when using some of your current equity, it will increase the principal amount and the interest payments on your mortgage as the mortgage is now refinanced at a higher amount.

Another option to unlock your home equity is through a line of credit or a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit). This option allows you to borrow money using the equity in your property, with the property as collateral. A HELOC serves as a revolving line of credit to allow the borrower to access funds, as needed, letting you utilize as much (or as little) equity as required. In Canada, you are able to borrow up to 65% of your home’s value using this method. Your HELOC balance AND current outstanding mortgage cannot exceed 80% of your home’s value when added together.

SECONDARY PROPERTY

Most people are trained to stay out of debt and don’t tend to consider using the equity in their home to buy an investment property, but they haven’t realized the art of leveraging. If you’re using equity from your primary residence to buy a secondary property, keep in mind that the interest you’re using is tax deductible. Consider that you’re buying an appreciating asset, and if you put a real estate portfolio and a stock portfolio side-by-side, they don’t compare.

WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE?

You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to make six figures to get in the game. Essentially, you just have to be someone who wants to be a little smarter with their down payment. Before taking on a secondary property remember that the minimum down payment is 5% of the purchase price – unless you are intending to rent, in which case it is 20% down.

When it comes to purchasing a secondary property, whether for investment or rental or vacation, it can be a great opportunity! As your mortgage broker I can work with you to find the best solution for your unique needs.

AIR BNB ON YOUR MIND?

More and More Canadians are hopping on the short-term rental train as Air bnb’s popularity has sky-rocketed over the last few years. It’s not a bad way to earn extra money, but don’t forget there are a few things to consider:

  • Check strata/city bylaws
  • Contact your insurance provider to get correct coverage
  • Discuss with me to see if a short-term income property can affect your approval
  • Consider tax implications, and talk to an accountant.

The more services you provide as a host, the greater the chance that your rental operation will be considered a business.

If you are ready to purchase a second home, vacation or investment property, I would be happy to take a look at your current mortgage, equity and review your options to help you find the best fit. Get in touch, the keys to success are right around the corner with a little bit of expert advice.


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20 Apr

Canadian Inflation Spikes to 6.7% in March. – April 20 2022

Latest News

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

APRIL 20 2022

Holy Smokes! Canadian Inflation Is At 6.7%

StatsCanada today reported that consumer prices rose a whopping 6.7% year-over-year in March, a full percentage point above the 5.7% reading the month before. Market-driven interest rates shot-up on the news as the prospects increase for another half-point rise in the overnight rate when the Bank of Canada meets again on June 1.

There is no sugar-coating this. Bonds were walloped as the Government of Canada two-year yield shot up to 2.6%, the 5-year yield rose to 2.75%, and the 10-year yield spiked above 2.825% immediately following the data release. The 5-year yield (so crucial for setting the 5-year fixed mortgage rate) has nearly quadrupled over the past year.

Inflationary pressure remained widespread in March, as prices rose across all eight major components. Prices increased against the backdrop of sustained price pressure in Canadian housing markets, substantial supply constraints and geopolitical conflict, which has affected energy, commodity, and agriculture markets. Further, employment continued to strengthen in March, as the unemployment rate fell to a record low. In March, average hourly wages for employees rose 3.4% y/y, raising the risk of wage-price spiralling. 

Excluding gasoline, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 5.5% year-over-year in March, the fastest pace since introducing the all-items excluding gasoline special aggregate in 1999, following a 4.7% gain in February.

The CPI rose 1.4% in March, following a 1.0% gain in February on a monthly basis. This was the largest increase since January 1991, when the goods and services tax was introduced. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.9% in March, matching the most significant increase on record.

In March, gasoline prices rose 11.8% month over month, following a 6.9% increase in February. Global oil prices rose sharply in March because of supply uncertainty following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Higher crude oil prices pushed prices at the pump higher. Year-over-year consumers paid 39.8% more for gasoline in March.

Month over month, prices for fuel oil and other fuels rose 19.9%, the second-largest increase on record after February 2000. On a year-over-year basis, prices for fuel oil and other fuels rose 61.0% in March.

Food prices continued to surge, as did the prices of durable goods such as automobiles and furniture. It cost considerably more for restaurants, hotel rooms and flights. 

Goods inflation hit 9.2% in March, the highest since 1982. Services inflation rose to 4.3%, the highest since 2003.

Bottom Line

Bond markets sold-off all over the world today. The yield curves flattened as shorter-term yields rose more than their longer-dated counterparts, reflective of the view that central banks will accelerate their tightening.

Today’s CPI report shows inflation pressures were more elevated than the Bank of Canada expected just last week when they hiked the policy rate by 50 basis points. 

This could well mark the top of the surge in inflation, but the return to the 2% inflation target could be prolonged, particularly if inflation expectations become embedded. For this reason, Governor Macklem is likely to tighten aggressively once again on June 1, which will further dampen housing activity.

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


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19 Apr

Canadian Home Sales Begin to Slow in March – April 19 2022

Latest News

Posted by: Matthew J. Charlton

APRIL 19 2022

Canadian March Home Sales Posted Their Biggest Decline Since June

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that rising interest rates were already dampening housing activity well before the Bank of Canada’s jumbo spike in the key policy rate in mid-April. National home sales fell back by 5.4% on a month-over-month basis in March. The decline puts activity back in line with where it had been since last fall (see chart below).

New Listings

The number of newly listed homes fell back by 5.5% on a month-over-month basis in March, following a jump in February. The monthly decline was led by Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Calgary and the GTA.

With sales and new listings falling in equal measure in March, the sales-to-new listings ratio stayed at 75.3% compared to 75.2% in February. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 55.1%.

About two-thirds of local markets were seller’s markets based on the sales-to-new listings ratio is more than one standard deviation above its long-term mean in March 2022. The other third of local markets were in balanced market territory.

There were 1.8 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of March 2022 — up from a record-low of just 1.6 months in the previous three months. The long-term average for this measure is more than five months.

Home Prices

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up 1% on a month-over-month basis in March 2022 – a marked slowdown from the record 3.5% increase in February.

The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up by 27.1% on a year-over-year basis in March. The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average home price was $796,000 in March 2022, up 11.2% from last year’s same month. 

Bottom Line

The March housing report is ancient history, as sharp increases in market-driven interest rates have changed the fundamentals. This report also precedes the 50 basis point hike in the overnight policy rate by the Bank of Canada. Anecdotal evidence thus far in April suggests that new listings have risen, and multiple bidding has nearly disappeared.

The rise in current fixed mortgage rates means that homebuyers must qualify for uninsured mortgages at the offered mortgage rate plus 200 bps–above the 5.25% qualifying rate in place since June 2021. This, no doubt will squeeze some buyers out of higher-priced markets. 

The federal budget introduced some initiatives to help first-time homebuyers and encourage housing construction–but these measures are hitting roadblocks. Labour shortages are plaguing the construction industry, and the feds do not control zoning and planning restrictions but at the local government level. The ban on foreign resident purchases will likely have only a small impact, so the fundamental issue of a housing shortage remains the biggest impediment to more affordable housing in Canada. 

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


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