Bank of Canada playing follow the leader on rates
Strange things are afoot with central banks these days as many are following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s lead and looking to tighten monetary conditions by raising interest rates. While we like to think that we chart our own course, Canada is no different in playing follow-the-leader as evident by the historical correlation in interest rate movements between our two countries and the recent indications by the Bank of Canada and its governor Stephen Poloz.
In particular, Canadian bond yields are now implying a 91.4 per cent probability that the Bank of Canada will raise interest rates this week, according to recent analysis by the Financial Times. This is up from the 4.6 per cent recorded just over 30 days ago.
What is interesting is that there has been no change in the Bank’s outlook since its last two meetings and the economic data — other than the recent jobs report — has either been in-line with or slightly below the Bank’s expectations.
While a 25 basis points hike may not sound like much, it has certainly had a meaningful impact to the Canadian dollar and bond market over the past month. Government of Canada Marketable Bonds with terms from one to five years have seen their yields increase 75 per cent since the beginning of June.
The loonie has now delinked from its historical relationship to oil prices and has gained an impressive 7 per cent against the U.S. dollar since May and could soon surpass the US$0.80 mark. While a higher loonie is great for those of us who vacation south of the border, it will not be good for our energy producers, who sell oil in U.S. dollars, and our overall balance of trade on a national level.
It was revealed this week that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is trying to keep tabs on foreign money in Canada's residential real estate market.
The national housing agency has come under fire in recent years for a conspicuous lack of reliable data about the money coming from abroad and how it may be contributing to soaring home prices in cities like Vancouver and Toronto.
Our neighbours to the south, for example, keep detailed records of who is buying what and for how much.
CMHC looks for new ways to track foreign money in Canadian real estate
Real estate rules don't discriminate against foreigners
Expect trouble if and when foreign buyers abandon Canadian housing
Part of the problem has been defining exactly who qualifies as a foreign buyer, and figuring out what it all means in the bigger picture.
Canada is not alone, however. Countries around the world have tried to make home ownership more affordable with an assortment of different approaches.
ome seem to work, others ... not so much.
The following is hardly an exhaustive list, but it provides a glimpse into the options Canada might consider down the road:
Source: Toronto Star
Toronto, Vancouver sales of luxury homes ‘to defy gravity’ this spring
Limited inventory, strong demand from domestic and international buyers driving high-end market: Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.
A report says sales of homes worth $1 million or more heated up in Toronto and Vancouver last year as the low Loonie fuelled demand from foreign buyers and this phenomenon is continuing this year.
Toronto and Vancouver will continue to lead sales of luxury homes in Canada this spring in both number and average price, says a report released Wednesday.
Sotheby’s International Realty Canada cites macro-economic trends including limited inventory and strong demand from both domestic and international buyers in making its prediction.
The realtor says the Greater Toronto Area will lead the real estate market for dwellings of more than $1 million, as sales continue to increase and prices to rise.
Notable growth is expected in Vancouver, especially in its top-tier residential market, as increases in sales of homes of more than $4 million are expected.
“Luxury home sales in Toronto and Vancouver will continue to defy gravity this spring,” Brad Henderson, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said in a statement.
“Both markets have the potential for significant gains and we expect heightened demand and insufficient inventory to drive price escalation and sellers’ market conditions.”
The report said steady economic growth indicators in Quebec have contributed to a balance in the market in Montreal, where numbers for sales of top-tier detached single-family homes, attached homes and condominiums are expected to be comparable to the level they stood at in 2015.
In Calgary, continued economic uncertainty due to troubles in the oil patch will increase the number of homes available and contribute to a decline in prices in both the markets for top-tier residences and for more typical dwellings in Alberta’s largest city, it said.
The weak Canadian dollar has made real estate more attractive to domestic and foreign buyers.
Sotheby’s says other market fundamentals have had and will continue to have greater impact on market for dwellings of more than $1 million across Canada this spring.
In Vancouver, the first two months of the year saw sales of homes valued at more than $1 million increase 23 per cent year-over-year to 771 units, of which 557 were single-family home sales, a 16 per cent increase. While the GTA remains attractive for foreign investors and immigrants, local and domestic demand will remain the main drivers in that market, according to Sotheby’s.
Already, the Toronto market has seen a 63-per-cent, year-over-year increase in sales of homes of more than $1 million, up to 1,646 units. Of these, 1,486 were single-family homes.
By comparison, the sale of homes priced $1 million or more rose 23 per cent in Montreal to just 80 units in the first two months of the year. That’s the same number as in Calgary, where the figure represented a one per cent decrease from the same period in 2015.