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First-time homebuyers catch a break with slowing home price growth

First-time homebuyers catch a break with slowing home price growth

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First-time homebuyers catch a break with slowing home price growth

We have some good news and we have some bad news, prospective homebuyers in Canada.

First, the bad news: According to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey, home price growth in many of Canada’s real estate markets is slowing. This means, if you’re looking to buy a home, its value may not grow as much as it has recently. The good news, however, is that this same slowing price growth presents a window of opportunity for first-time homebuyers to get while you can.

The price of a home in Canada increased just 2.7 per cent year-over-year to $621,575 in the first quarter of 2019, Royal LePage says, well below the long-term norm of approximately five per cent. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a two-storey home rose 2.6 per cent year-over-year to $729,553, while the median price of a bungalow rose 1.1 per cent to $513,497. Condominiums remained the fastest growing housing type, rising 5.4 per cent year-over-year to $447,260.

Looking ahead to the second quarter, Royal LePage expects national home prices to stay relatively flat throughout the 2019 spring market, with the national aggregate price of a home increasing just one per cent over the next three months. Meanwhile, the housing markets in several larger Canadian cities have shown noticeable signs of slowing, with nearly half of the regions in Royal LePage’s Quarterly Forecast anticipating quarter-over-quarter price declines.

But these are national numbers, and as we’ve written before, there really is no such thing as a Canadian housing market.

But more on this later.

Silver lining

Early in 2018, Canada experienced the most significant housing correction since the 2008 financial crisis. Markets showed signs of recovery late in the year, yet the figures for early 2019 suggest that the market has once again slowed.

We are expecting this to be a sluggish year overall in Canada’s residential real estate market, with the hangover from the 2018 market correction and weaker economic growth acting as a drag on home price appreciation, balanced by lower for longer interest rates,” says Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “There is a silver lining here. This slowdown gives buyers, and first-time buyers in particular, an opportunity to buy real estate in our country’s largest cities.”

In the federal budget tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in March, the Canadian government announced three new or enhanced housing programs. The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a three-year, $1.25-billion shared equity mortgage program whereby  Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) will co-invest up to five per cent of the purchase price of an existing home. Further, for the first time in a decade, there was an increase in the registered retirement savings plan withdrawal limits in the Home Buyers Plan. The increase, from $25,000 to $35,000, was the largest since the program’s inception in 1992. Finally, an additional $10 billion in financing over nine years was earmarked for the construction of purpose-built rental housing.

Real estate is local

Illustrating our point that real estate is local and not national, the GTA housing market is still showing healthy growth.

“The city of Toronto is still one of Canada’s fastest appreciating real estate markets,” says Soper. “Detached home prices are rising in line with inflation, but condominium prices are increasing at near double-digit levels as vertical living has become the primary new-build option in this growing, world-class city.”

Median home prices in Toronto rose 5.8 per cent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019. Two-storey home prices and bungalow home prices rose 4.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent year-over-year, respectively, while condo prices rose 9.3 per cent year-over-year. The overall GTA’s aggregate home price rose 3.4 per cent over the same period.

Real estate values in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region continued to appreciate at a brisk clip, as local economies grew and workers from the GTA looked to trade commuting time for lower house prices. Niagara-St. Catharines, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge aggregate prices were up by 6.9 per cent, 6.3 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively.


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Toronto’s housing market may need a Vancouver-style cooling: RBC

The Globe and Mail
Toronto may need to consider Vancouver-style measures to address a “dangerous mix” of factors that are fuelling the region’s overheated housing market, the chief executive of Canada’s largest bank warned on Friday (Feb. 24).
In an interview, Royal Bank of Canada CEO Dave McKay said he has grown increasingly concerned about the country’s largest housing market, where average detached-home prices have soared more than 26 per cent in the past year, while condo prices have jumped more than 14.5 per cent.

Builders’ and agents’ suggestions on improving access to home ownership in GTA

Mortgage Broker News

Grim predictions from the Toronto Real Estate Board and the Building Industry and Land Development Association pointed to an even more difficult year ahead for first-time buyers, amid growing purchase costs and ever-declining supply.
TREB recently forecast that the average price of a home in the GTA will see double-digit percentage growth in 2017, up to an average of $825,000. Coupled with BILD figures noting that only 13,670 new homes were for sale in the GTA as of December (compared to 30,400 a decade ago), think tanks and industry players are stressing that homeownership in the region is an increasingly unlikely prospect.

Homeownership a wise goal for all Canadians

Real Estate News Exchange

Over the past few years, demographics regarding homeownership in Canada have changed, especially for those entering the marketplace – largely because of rising home prices. The great news is that first-time buyers are still finding ways to become owners, just a little later in life.
A BMO study from 2013 indicated the average first-time homebuyer was approximately 29 years of age. Reasons for this changing life cycle vary, from people postponing marrying and having children until later in life, to needing longer time periods to save for down payments.

Eight in 10 millennials intend to buy in five years

Canadian Mortgage Trends
About a third (34 per cent) of millennials (Canadians born in the 1980s and ’90s) are homeowners, finds a new HSBC survey.
Of those who don’t own, 82 per cent plan to buy in the next five years. But there’s a minor problem: 70% of them haven’t saved enough for a down payment.

This is the danger of helping your Gen Y kids buy a house

The Globe and Mail

When you look at house prices in markets like Toronto, Vancouver and the surrounding areas, you have to wonder about the extent to which parents are helping their adult kids save a down payment. Now, we have an indication. A recent survey by the international bank HSBC found that 37 per cent of millennial homebuyers got some financial help from parents.
Here’s why that’s a bad idea in some cases. According to the HSBC survey, 21 per cent of millennials who recently bought a house borrowed from family after buying to cover unexpected costs. See what you’re doing, parents? You’re helping your kids into a financial obligation they may not be ready to take on.

Expect a cautious federal budget as Liberals brace for the Trump effect

The Globe and Mail

Expect this year’s federal budget to have a big helping of cautious wait-and-see – in case next year’s requires a response to what Donald Trump is doing south of the border.
The new U.S. president has promised major tax cuts that could eventually have an impact on Canada, and his administration is starting to outline some of its budget plans.

Toronto’s home prices in line with other world cities

Toronto Star
Bubble. What bubble?
Toronto’s soaring home prices are in line with the reality of other world cities such as New York, Hong Kong and London, says Mark Renzoni, president of global commercial real estate giant CBRE.
“The market is fairly balanced. It’s not being driven by foreign capital. It’s being driven by Canadians, moving up, buying for the first time,” he told the Star, following a speech at CBRE’s annual market forecast event.
“There’s great jobs, there’s a sense of optimism, there’s confidence in the job market and interest rates are low,” said Renzoni, who suggested that concerns about foreign speculation in the Toronto housing market are overblown.

Ottawa keeps wary eye on home prices in Toronto, Vancouver

The Globe and Mail

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says rising home prices in Toronto and Vancouver are supported by low unemployment and higher incomes, but acknowledged the government remains “very focused” on monitoring the Canadian housing market.
The minister’s comments come as some Bay Street leaders are expressing growing concern over the Toronto housing market in particular.

How to buy a home the right way, according to CMHC

CBC News

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, has updated its free guide to the process of buying a home, with an emphasis on encouraging Canadians to think long term about what kind of home they should buy — or whether they would be better off renting.
The national housing agency first released the guide, called Homebuying Step by Step, in 1998, but has updated it over the years. The latest version streamlines the document, splitting off workbook content and making it available online as a series of interactive printable checklists and questionnaires.

No fixed zddress: A first-time renter’s guide to rental numbers in Toronto

CBC News

Renting in Toronto, quite frankly, is tough.
Trying to find a place to rent? You can wind up shell-shocked over what a one-bedroom will cost you these days.
But take solace: everyone else is trying to navigate renting in Toronto, too. In fact, there is a whole group of us on Facebook here. Join, discuss and vent.

Tim Hudak talks millennials, headlines, and what he misses about politics (actually, not much)

Toronto Storeys

Tim Hudak must love the heat, because the man can’t seem to get out of the kitchen. After 21 years in politics, he’s stepped into real estate — as new CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) — during a GTA-wide shortage of housing supply and subsequently spiking prices, which has left a generation of southern Ontarians struggling to enter the market. The former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is working with municipal and provincial governments to improve affordability and supply, and recently chatted with Toronto Storeys about his new job. (This interview has been lightly edited.)

Protecting purchase history data: What would virtual office websites do with it?

Real Estate Magazine

The issue of permitting virtual office websites (VOWs) to publicly display sold data – a property’s purchase history – is still before the courts, a years-long litigation between the Toronto Real Estate Board, CREA and the federal competition bureau. But with finality possibly in sight, just what would VOWs do with the disputed data that TREB argues would compromise privacy if made public?
Canada’s largest real estate board believes publicly displaying sold data impinges upon customers’ right to privacy, although its sales agents are authorized to share it member-to-member and with clients in person, by fax or email. Yet, some VOW operators contend it is in consumers’ best interest to have as much information as they can to make informed purchasing decisions.

Building codes across Canada to be updated to reflect climate change

Global News

Canada’s national building codes will be changing over the next five years to adapt to the effects of climate change, officials confirmed to Global News on Monday.
The National Research Council (NRC), which sets “model codes” for building, energy, plumbing and fire, has started working on updating some (or potentially all) of those documents to reflect the fact that Canada is seeing more heavy rain, floods, high winds, snow, ice, temperature swings and all-around extreme weather.

Is Canada (still) experiencing one of the biggest housing bubbles in the world?

Fortress Real Developments

I think it is worthwhile to look back at past housing market opinions, forecasts and predictions to see how they turned out. How well did my fellow housing analysts and I do at assessing the market at that time? Given renewed interest in the “Canadian housing bubble” I thought I’d take a look at this blog post I wrote in August of 2013: The Other Side of the Story V – Is Canada Experiencing one of the Biggest Housing Bubbles in the World?
It is almost laughable to think that anyone thought that Canada was in a housing bubble in 2013, especially after what we witnessed in 2016, and what is going on in Toronto as we speak


Scotiabank CEO concerned about housing market corrections in Toronto, Vancouver

National Newswatch

The CEO of Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) says he’s concerned about the possibility of a housing market correction in Toronto and Vancouver.
Brian Porter, who was asked about his outlook for the Canadian mortgage market during a conference call to discuss the bank’s first-quarter results, said he’s supportive of recent government changes introduced to reel in house price growth.
“Trees don’t grow to the sky and markets will correct at some stage here,” Porter told analysts Tuesday (Feb. 28) after the bank reported net income of $1.49 billion during the first quarter of the year.



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