Tag Archives: housing forecast

Mortgage Rates Are Down…Sort Of…

It seems like a lot of people got really excited when the Royal (now matched by a number of others) dropped their mortgage rate by 0.15% last Thursday.

Any time rates or prices drop, it’s great for buyers, but this one isn’t anything to get excited about. It’s a rate drop for new mortgages and not a drop in the prime rate. So if you’re on a variable rate mortgage, it’s not likely your bank will drop your payment starting next month. Even if they did, it’d amount to $5.60 on a $250,000 mortgage. If they choose to drop your line of credit rate, you’d save $1.20 a month on an average $36,000 credit line.

Any tiny drop in rates isn’t going to rescue the housing market in 80% of the country. What needs to change is the mortgage stress rules that force borrowers to qualify for sticker rates when their actual rate will be about two percent lower. That rule certainly makes sense in overpriced housing markets.

It was designed to slow down the market. But what it’s done is not only slow it down, but stop it, and then shrink it in a big way. Toronto sales down 16% last year, as well as prices – Vancouver sales down 32%. Overall, sales are down 47% and mortgage applications are now at a 22-year low. One of the big banks’ mortgage applications are down by half over a year ago.

Is THAT what the goal was? The desire to own a home hasn’t changed, but the ability has. Now there are many signs that the federal government is running scared – and should be.

The stress test might still have a purpose but should be set by postal codes so the slow housing markets don’t keep getting killed. Plus, we’re pretty much done with rate increases. Sure, there might be one or two more, but we’re much more likely to have a recession in the next year than to have another huge wave of inflation with the corresponding rising rates.

It’s an old stat, but someone buying a home spends an additional $10,000 in everything from furniture to painting, renovators to appliances. None of that happens if the housing market has grinded to a halt. And I still maintain that there are tons of younger people who would love to get into the housing market but can’t. And if they don’t buy an entry level home, the people selling those can’t move up when they can’t sell…and none of the dominos to a healthy housing markets move!

George Boelcke – Money Tools & Rules book – yourmoneybook.com

Housing Correction Forecasts

We keep asking and wondering if there’s a housing correction coming in Canada – or at least in the hot-market cities. Well, good luck finding a definitive answer. A heads up first: This is exactly like investing. Ignore the forecasts and news stories and just carry on with your life. If you’re not selling in the next while – who really cares? It should be entertainment news more than useful news to 90% of home owners!

The Globe and Mail recently published the forecast and predictions of a whole bunch of experts and companies that ought to be the experts. The short answer? It might go down a ton…or it might go up. You pick who you want to believe. If you’re a pessimist, there’s a forecast you’ll love. If you’re an optimist, there’s a forecast to fit your mindset…

Deutsche Bank: 60% drop coming…their analyst used prices compared to incomes and prices compared to rents.

Fitch Ratings: 26% drop…their emphasis was on factors that drive demand for homes.

Bank of Canada: 20% drop..factoring in the 10-year bond rate as measuring stick for mortgage rates and our per-capita after-tax income.

International Monetary Fund: 11% drop…they’re new at Canadian estimating and include population growth, income and employment growth as major factors.

TD Bank: 11% drop…TD economists consider median family income, interest rates and employment levels as their key factors.

CMHC: 3% drop…They use four different models and the most complex calculations that would take half an hour to explain. They believe the housing market is anywhere from 16% overvalued to 13% undervalued, making it an average estate of a 3% drop.

Or you could pick one of the other models if you prefer to hear that prices will go up 13%.

Housing economist Will Dunning: 9% increase in values…As with CMHC, it’s complex to explain the modeling used. However, it’s the connection between rates and return on investment. Dunning believes we haven’t fully taken advantage of low rates, causing him to forecast a 9% increase this year and 25% over the next few years.

Pick the forecast you like, and good luck to you. But the question is what difference does it make? If you’re an investor, it might. But you and I need to live somewhere. We probably like our home, we’ve paid a ton of payments into it, may have kids in the school system and really aren’t going to move.

These forecasts help investors and lenders to tighten up, loosen up mortgage lending or other factors. But if you and I start to act on one of these forecasts, we’d be in big trouble.


Besides, are these forecasts for basically Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver? Would they apply to a condo in Penticton? Would they apply to an average but expensive home in Rutland or the outskirts of Edmonton? Is your home average and you’ll  be impacted? Is yours one of the top 10 most expensive in town?


Who knows who’ll get impacted or what economic earthquake or growth is coming…they’re guestimates and I choose not to let that impact my life, my home or my thinking, spending and actions.


Maybe we should revisit these forecasts next year. But, by then, there’ll be a lot of new ones to wonder about.