Cowtown – Bullish

Overall Market

  • Prospective sellers are waiting and prospective buyers are a bit shy
  • The market right now is both slow and tentative, not really sure where things are going
  • Concerns about the global economy may be another reason for the “tentative” market
  • The latest Royal LePage report
    • Average housing prices were up between 2% and 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the same time last year.
    • Average prices for Canadian residential real-estate will rise a further 1% by the end of 2013, as some owners opt to delay selling their property until conditions improve.
  • Canada’s economy created far more jobs than expected in December, defying expectations amid sluggish growth and affirming the possibility of a central bank rate hike this year.
  • Fewer homeowners listed their properties in the second half of the year, which kept inventory levels lower, and supported home values.
  • The one thing missing from the market for those looking for a market crash is a catalyst or an event that will force people to reduce their asking prices. Before this housing market burns up in flames, it needs some type of spark. Two that come to mind are a spike in interest rates or job losses — this is not happening any time soon.
  • Some financial advisors see that the long-term fall in home prices will not be reversed when the economy picks up, forecasting a smaller portion of the population, relatively speaking, is in their home-buying years calculating house values to be $100,000 less than they are now.
  • If you are one of those who find their home to be their most significant retirement asset, financial advisors suggest taking the current opportunity to downsize, free up the equity, and invest in income-producing investments – bonds, preferred shares, income producing real estate or dividend-producing equities.
  • Critics point out that despite the slowing mortgage growth, household debt, already at record levels, continues to rise. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney has repeatedly warned that elevated personal debt is one of the greatest risks facing the Canadian economy
  • ING will now focus on the direct channel to consumers while the brokerage lending business will be diverted to Scotiabank
  • As expected, the Bank of Canada kept a lid on borrowing costs, with its trendsetting overnight rate — the main instrument used to guide inflation toward the bank’s 2% target — remaining at a near-record low 1%, unchanged since September 2010 and now the longest dormant stretch since the early 1950
  • The central bank rate has remained near historic lows for more than two years amid slowing global growth, driven by lower demand for exports from emerging economies, political turmoil in the U.S. and an unresolved debt crisis in the Euro zone.
  •  Forecasts that 454,000 homes will change hands in 2013, falling one per cent from the 2012 national performance.
  • Slower sales and a flattening of home prices in Vancouver and Toronto — Canada’s two largest and most-expensive real-estate markets — will have a significant impact and drag down the national averages this year.
  • The real estate market is relatively solid in Canada. There has been a slowdown in sales and in mortgage demand but price levels are relatively stable.


  • Alberta and Saskatchewan where the resource-oriented economies have been vibrant, are poised for significant growth in 2013.
  • Alberta is the talk of the country and is planning on leading the country in economic growth.
  • The city’s 2013 property assessments reveals a record number of single-family homes valued at $1 million or more, besting the previous high set in 2008.
  • There are now 9,001 single-family homes assessed at $1 million or more, compared to 7,997 in 2012 — a 13-per-cent increase.  The previous record of 8,262 homes was set during the previous boom, prior to the economic collapse in 2008.
  • Calgary Housing Market is experiencing home sales that are putting a momentum of unaffordable housing.


  • Home sales dollar volumes down
  • Unit sales down (10-year average 88,000 units, 15-year average 79,000, 2012 average between 64,000 and 68,000)
  • Average prices dropping in Lower Mainland
  • Prices falling more noticeably in single-family homes in more expensive areas of the west side of Vancouver and Richmond
  • The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said in January total sales in 201 were off 22.7% from a year earlier
  • Slowing residential sales means fewer jobs in construction and lower prices will cut the value of most households’ key retirement asset, the club heard.
  • According to B.C. Assessment, the total change in assessed property values, as of July 1, 2012, was about five per cent in Coquitlam, Surrey and New Westminster. Changes were more notable in Vancouver, which rose just two per cent this year, and Richmond, which dipped 0.64 per cent.
  • This year, for the first time in many years, a number of homeowners in some areas of B.C. will see a drop in their property assessment, B.C. Assessment said Wednesday
  • There were 19,027 housing starts in Metro Vancouver for the year 2012, up more than six per cent from the year and from the 10-year average. 19,100 total housing starts forecast for the year
  • Vancouver’s rental vacancy rate is 0.9 per cent, which is very low — a boon to real estate investors. A good, strong rental market, people is part of the reason we’re seeing more multiple-units.
  • The year-long downtrend in sales constrained annual provincial activity to 67,640 units, a 12-per-cent drop from the previous year and the lowest annual tally since 2000.
  • Chinese investors may return; based on China’s increased GDP, potential policy changes and new leadership.


  • New home sales continue to plummet in the Greater Toronto Area with the latest statistics from RealNet Canada Inc. showing a 52.1% drop in sales in December from a year ago.
  • Toronto ranked as the fastest growing economy in the country last year, but a new study from CIBC suggests Canada’s biggest city will be hard pressed to maintain that growth trajectory
  • December home sales in Toronto fell 19.5% compared with a year ago, but prices were still up, according to the city’s real estate association.
  • The Toronto Real Estate Board said there were 3,690 sales in the Greater Toronto Area last month through the Multiple Listing Service, down from 4,585 in December 2011.
  • The average price rose to $478,789 from $449,566 — an increase of 6.5% from the year before.
  • Home sales dropping a precipitous 19.5 per cent year on year in December even as average prices shot up 6.5 per cent in the region.

Interest rate projections

  • RBC expects The Bank of Canada could raise its trend-setting interest rate by half a percentage point before the end of this year.
  • Both Scotiabank and CIBC said in December they expect rates to remain at their current level for the rest of 2013.