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  #7361  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 4:20 AM
lio45 lio45 is offline
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Originally Posted by geotag277 View Post
At the same time, if you thought the market was in a real estate bubble in 2011, and prices have climbed higher, such that in 2017, if in 2018 the market "crashes" down to 2015 levels and levels off - then yes, you were wrong in 2011 about there being a real estate bubble. By that scenario, the "bubble" only existed between 2015 and 2017 - and further, if prices rise above 2017 levels in 2020, then perhaps there wasn't a bubble at all, and simply a period of time between 2017-2020 when there was an opportunity to buy real estate at a discount (similar to how San Francisco prices "crashed" with the United States market, but have since risen to new heights).

In any case, there definitely is a well defined way to call out people as "wrong", depending on when and at what time they claimed a bubble existed.
I mostly agree with you, but it can also depend how exactly we define overvaluation.

Let's use an example: imagine I locate a low-miles, 15-year-old four-door automatic base model Toyota Corolla in a rare color, and since it's my dream car for some reason (maybe a girl I was hopelessly in love with had one exactly like that, or something) I want to make sure I don't miss the opportunity, so I immediately buy it for $10,000 before anyone else has the slightest chance to snap it up.

Let's say I can afford it - won't even notice a missing ten grand - and I don't intend to ever resell the car. I'm just going to keep it in a heated garage and treasure it.

Did I overpay? Depending on how one views it, both answers could be correct.

Now, let's say a bunch of multi-millionaires, at the global level, decide that for some reason the only safe haven they trust for their wealth is either BitCoins or else property in a very specific low-rent low-income tertiary city in a middle-of-the-pack developed country.

As long as they don't need to sell, their BitCoin bubble - pricey hot air, basically - will last. And it might last nearly forever, because it's very possible that very wealthy people will continue to perpetuate the cycle of finding it a safe investment (at some point, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - people buy BitCoins because other people buy BitCoins), which by some definitions would mean it ceases to be a bubble even though the values aren't justified at all by fundamentals. If enough people agree... that's the new value. By that logic, my old Corolla is actually worth ten grand.
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  #7362  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 4:34 AM
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Originally Posted by geotag277 View Post
At the same time, if you thought the market was in a real estate bubble in 2011...
And if I had to answer your question, I would probably say that in my personal view, Vancouver entered bubble territory when cap rates crossed on their way down the threshold of the lowest interest rates we've typically seen in the pre-GFC modern era. Not sure exactly when that happened, but probably several years ago at least. It's not normal nor sustainable to be operating a conservatively-financed real estate portfolio at a yearly loss.

Now, of course, with the possibility of permanently plateauing global population for the first time in human history, maybe we've actually undergone a one-time para-dime shift into a new permanent era of very low growth by historical standards and exceptionally low interest rates.

If that's the case, then yes, a few "bubbles" will cease to be bubbles and become a new reality. I can see places like Toronto, Paris and Manhattan ceasing to be bubbles if it turns out these interest rates - and therefore cap rates - are the new normal.

But Van, though - the values are just WAY out of whack with demand for housing (a.k.a. rent levels) and local wages. I don't see this lasting permanently at all. Pure speculation, and mostly Chinese-driven. As I pointed out a while ago, there are a lot more Chinese millionaires than there are Vancouver residents - if they decide to focus on that market, they can easily bid prices up to levels that will be astronomical, from the locals' financial standpoint.
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  #7363  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 2:32 PM
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The real cause (and solution to) the bubble, and the reason why the "statistics" don't show that it is 90% Chinese money:

Quote:
Legal loopholes give Canada a bad name when it comes to money laundering
Diane Francis: Canada has become a secrecy haven, and a leaky one at that


Lawyer’s trust accounts can be used to bypass the legal scrutiny of banks and of regulators, tax officials, or law enforcement agencies.

On May 26, a West Vancouver lawyer was found guilty of professional misconduct by a Law Society of B.C. disciplinary panel for allowing $26 million from unknown sources to flow through his trust account.

The panel found the lawyer ignored “a sea of red flags” and never asked the source of funds or where they were deployed. He admitted there was “risk involved” so he charged a tenth of one per cent of the amount, but did no legal work for the client.

This is how “money laundering” or “terrorist financing” can be easily accomplished in Canada. Lawyer’s trust accounts can be used to bypass the legal scrutiny of banks and of regulators, tax officials, or law enforcement agencies.

Canada has become a secrecy haven, and a leaky one at that

In Australia and Britain lawyers cannot do this. But in Canada this is a gigantic loophole and is the reason why Canada recently received a failing mark from the world’s watchdog into money laundering and terrorist financing — the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) launched by the G7 and United Nations.

“All high-risk areas (in Canada) are covered by … measures, except legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries. This constitutes a significant loophole in Canada’s framework,” stated the FATF report on Canada.

Another major shortcoming cited was that Canada’s regulator who monitors flows of “suspicious” money into the country — FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Analysis Center of Canada) — can only perform half the job. It reports unusual or suspicious amounts to law enforcement agencies, but cannot request additional information from reporting entities.

“FINTRAC receives a wide range of information, which it uses adequately, but some factors, in particular the fact that it is not authorized to request additional information from any reporting entity (RE), limit the scope and depth of the analysis that it is authorized to conduct,” stated FATF.

The result of this shortcoming is that Canadian police are increasingly being inundated with reports from FINTRAC about questionable flows of cash, or asset purchases, said a high-ranking police official, but are unable to do anything.

“FINTRAC provides suspicious transactions to us but without any evidence to go on. The increase is substantial. But there is no way law enforcement can look into something that has no hint of a substantive offence attached to it. Why don’t they audit the larger amounts and ask the sender/receiver questions about the source of the money? There should be a reverse-onus system where unaccounted, suspicious funds are seized pending a reasonable explanation?”

The result is there are few prosecutions, weak sentences, and few confiscations, said FATF. It added that the Canada Revenue Agency should also be routinely auditing charities for illicit capital flows, but does not.

Ironically, Canada led the world about 10 years ago by proposing legislation that required lawyers to do what banks and accountants must do.

But the same Law Society of B.C. that disciplined the lawyer in May successfully fought proposals through the court system for years.

On Feb. 13, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada found the wording of the legislation breached the constitutional right to attorney-client privilege.

In April, Josée Nadeau, former Senior Chief, Financial Crime International for Finance Canada and now on temporary leave, said at a conference held by the Canada-U.S. Law Institute that when the Supreme Court rejected the proposed language, it encouraged rewriting the legislation.

“The Court did not say don’t apply again, but said redesign the requirements to be compliant,” she said. New provisions have not surfaced as of yet.

Clearly, this should be a priority as the flow of money from unknown sources soars, according to police sources.

It also seems unjust that the attorney-client privilege prevents lawyers from helping uphold laws, but not other professionals. Accountants, doctors, nurses, social workers or teachers are legally obligated to report abuse or criminality under the law.

“Requirements are inoperative toward legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries,” said the FATF report. “In light of these professionals’ key gatekeeper role, in particular in high-risk sectors and activities such as real-estate transactions and the formation of corporations and trusts, this constitutes a serious impediment to Canada’s efforts to fight money laundering (or terrorist financing).”

Lawyers are able to deposit cash from unknown sources in their trust accounts then disperse these. They also provide anonymity through the creation of legal structures, nominees, trusts, or shell companies. The result is that Canada has become a secrecy haven, and a leaky one at that.

As long as anonymity is protected in Canada — a separate law enforcement problem — Canadians will not know where or who money is coming from, which is why provincial taxes on foreign buyers are useless in stopping the overheated real estate frenzy.

As recommended in the report, real estate agents, brokers, and developers should also face tighter government regulation.

Bringing the legal and real estate sectors to heel, banning anonymity and shell companies, giving FINTRAC more powers, and imposing a reverse-onus on foreigners bringing in scads of money would go a long way to ending the shady practices that have gone on for too long.
http://business.financialpost.com/ne...7-3023b45679f9
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  #7364  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 2:56 PM
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^^ Hates on data that does not support his views; posts an article with no data to support his views????
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  #7365  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 6:40 PM
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^^ Hates on data that does not support his views; posts an article with no data to support his views????
What? The article is based on a report commissioned by a body created by the G7 to track such things. What more do you want?

It's no surprise supreme court would give fellow lawyers such an "out". There's a reason they're right down there in public esteem with realtors and used car salesmen.
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  #7366  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 6:56 PM
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Originally Posted by whatnext View Post
What? The article is based on a report commissioned by a body created by the G7 to track such things. What more do you want?

It's no surprise supreme court would give fellow lawyers such an "out". There's a reason they're right down there in public esteem with realtors and used car salesmen.
Lawyers may not be highly regarded, but the Supreme Court generally has been for many, many years (mostly with the exception of certain segments of Conservative voters). And from the article, they didn't give an "out", but rather said, the proposed law needed to be reworked in order to be valid.
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  #7367  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 7:30 PM
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Originally Posted by osmo View Post
^^ Hates on data that does not support his views; posts an article with no data to support his views????
Actually, that article Pinion shared - which I recommend you read - precisely points out why the available data that is your be-all end-all isn't worth very much in the real world:

Quote:
Lawyers are able to deposit cash from unknown sources in their trust accounts then disperse these. They also provide anonymity through the creation of legal structures, nominees, trusts, or shell companies. The result is that Canada has become a secrecy haven, and a leaky one at that.

As long as anonymity is protected in Canada — a separate law enforcement problem — Canadians will not know where or who money is coming from, which is why provincial taxes on foreign buyers are useless in stopping the overheated real estate frenzy.

So, yeah, he's in fact directly addressing your data there.

On that topic - as I've said for years, the actual data we'd need to figure out the percentage of Vancouver that's speculative buying would be to tally all properties that aren't either 1) subject to a current mortgage by a major bank by someone with enough declared yearly Canadian income to qualify, or 2) paid off but owned by people who've had them for decades.

Anything else, you add all of that up, and you shouldn't be too far from reality.

If you want to fine-tune even further, you can add anything paid-off owned by anyone who made their wealth in Canada and who currently lives full-time in their Vancouver property. (Shouldn't change the data too much.)

Anything mortgage-free and owned by "housewives" and "students" would all be lumped straight into the "speculators" category, regardless of the citizenship status of the person who, on paper, is the owner.

Now that data would maybe start to show a decently realistic picture of the state of the market.
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  #7368  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 7:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Actually, that article Pinion shared - which I recommend you read - precisely points out why the available data that is your be-all end-all isn't worth very much in the real world:




So, yeah, he's in fact directly addressing your data there.

Yes, it introduces a point of reference to look into but no stats were presented to support the posters post.

Nobody knows the volume? The amount? The frequency? Which jurisdictions have more than others? All the police have said in the article is that they have seen "an increase" but do not point to how much.

These things are important because until then, it is just noise, like much of the rest of noise that surrounds the foreign buyer "problem" in Canada. Everybody says it's an issue but nobody can provide any credible numbers when credible numbers are presented nobody wants to acknolwedge them.

What I do know is Canadians have mortgages volumes up around $700 billion as per CMHC. Canadian have record levels of debt and mortgages, of course, none of this is related to sky high real estate prices.
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  #7369  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 7:48 PM
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Yes, it introduces a point of reference to look into but no stats were presented to support the posters post.
That's the point - we're telling you why your direct foreign ownership stats aren't reliable nor useful.

Debunking something in a factually solid manner doesn't automatically imply an obligation to provide a replacement solution; it's perfectly acceptable from a logical standpoint to show that given data is shit while not possessing better data.

I hinted at the data I'd like to see, but I don't think it exists.



Quote:
Nobody knows the volume? The amount? The frequency? Which jurisdictions have more than others? All the police have said in the article is that they have seen "an increase" but do not point to how much.

These things are important because until then, it is just noise, like much of the rest of noise that surrounds the foreign buyer "problem" in Canada. Everybody says it's an issue but nobody can provide any credible numbers when credible numbers are presented nobody wants to acknolwedge them.
Your "credible" numbers aren't that credible. (It's been explained why, many times, and clearly.)


Quote:
What I do know is Canadians have mortgages volumes up around $700 billion as per CMHC. Canadian have record levels of debt and mortgages, of course, none of this is related to sky high real estate prices.
It's obviously related. Canada is exceptionally open to money launderers compared to other developed and stable first world countries, so obviously if Canadians want to buy property they have to compete with them. It drives the prices up for everybody.
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  #7370  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 9:44 PM
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On the data note, it's been a major complaint for years. The Financial Post has an article today on how Statistics Canada is finally creating a comprehensive database, working with other governments:

Last summer, as policy makers grappled with how to tackle soaring real estate prices in the Vancouver and Toronto areas, they encountered a major obstacle: there was no comprehensive database tracking all the potential variables at play, especially when it came to foreign buyers.

Now, a “massive” effort is underway at Statistics Canada to make sure that problem never arises again.

A team of more than 15 people is at work compiling the Housing Statistics Framework, an ambitious database that will contain everything from price information to owner demographics, on every property and piece of land in the country...


http://business.financialpost.com/pe...c-bc0207ff9e89

Personally I believe the real estate industry deliberately wanted to avoid tracking such data, as they knew the outrage it would cause.
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  #7371  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2017, 11:41 PM
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A list of the most expensive properties for sale in Newfoundland. It's funny how obvious the difference is between the suburbs and the capital proper.

https://www.point2homes.com/news/can...-labrador.html
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  #7372  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2017, 9:26 PM
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There are still some decently good deals to be had in downtown Sherbrooke, surprisingly. Those two for example would produce acceptable cap rates by modern North American standards:

(the brick one is empty at the moment, so you have to expect to be in the red for a while with it. I'm familiar with that building, been in there a few times.)

https://www.realtor.ca/Commercial/Mu...-Mont-Bellevue

https://www.realtor.ca/Residential/S...Sherbrooke-Est
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  #7373  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2017, 9:55 PM
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I don't think the original source is posted but greaterfool.ca has this nugget of data about the Toronto market:

The average GTA property was worth $919,589 in April – the most ever. But by July 13th that had declined to $755,727, for a rout of almost 18%.

The real estate industry is talking about "soft landings" but this is the biggest 3-month decline in decades and means that a whole lot of people lost a lot of equity very quickly. This decline is more severe than what happened in most American housing markets which most people agreed in retrospect were inflated by unsustainable credit.

There's been some talk in this thread about when the bubble will burst or if there is a bubble. This talk is mostly beside the point. Nobody really knows because of a lack of data combined with the random-walk nature of bubbles. The important point is that borrowing $900,000 to buy an average house is a whole lot riskier than many Canadians seem to think as of late.

We must also accept that either the price increases are unsustainable or there is foreign investment or some combination of the two (I believe this third blended explanation). Canadian income growth is flat. Canadian debt levels have been rising for years. Residential real estate is not itself productive. So all we have left is a credit bubble plus foreign speculation.
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  #7374  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2017, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
I don't think the original source is posted but greaterfool.ca has this nugget of data about the Toronto market:

The average GTA property was worth $919,589 in April – the most ever. But by July 13th that had declined to $755,727, for a rout of almost 18%.

The real estate industry is talking about "soft landings" but this is the biggest 3-month decline in decades and means that a whole lot of people lost a lot of equity very quickly. This decline is more severe than what happened in most American housing markets which most people agreed in retrospect were inflated by unsustainable credit.

There's been some talk in this thread about when the bubble will burst or if there is a bubble. This talk is mostly beside the point. Nobody really knows because of a lack of data combined with the random-walk nature of bubbles. The important point is that borrowing $900,000 to buy an average house is a whole lot riskier than many Canadians seem to think as of late.

We must also accept that either the price increases are unsustainable or there is foreign investment or some combination of the two (I believe this third blended explanation). Canadian income growth is flat. Canadian debt levels have been rising for years. Residential real estate is not itself productive. So all we have left is a credit bubble plus foreign speculation.
Again, the parallels with the Vancouver market are rather obvious, the same time frame after the foreign buyer tax :

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/09..._11837936.html

Quote:
The average price of a detached Greater Vancouver home fell by 16.7 per cent last month, representing the biggest single-month drop it has seen in 39 years, according to a graph provided by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
Foreign buyer taxes spook the markets. That much is already established. They particularly spook the market at the extreme top end, which causes the subsequent months to show large average price discrepancies with historical averages. If the top end of the market sales fall off a cliff (which they generally did with both Vancouver and Toronto) - that will disproportionately affect average prices - much more so than medians - which is something to keep an eye on.

The only thing we really have to accept at this time, is that Vancouver and Toronto are more or less following almost the exact same pattern, and essentially establishing something we already knew - foreign buyer taxes spook the regional real estate market they are implemented in, and it takes roughly a year for the market to get over the uncertainty and instability. Let's see what happens, but way too early to declare "victory" that Vancouver and Toronto are both suddenly affordable.
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  #7375  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2017, 12:15 AM
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The foreign buyer tax scare lasted about two months in Vancouver, not a year. Too many loopholes.

I think we're just at the point where even multi-millionaires are being priced out at $4+ million for garbage houses in mediocre areas. Condo prices are still skyrocketing.
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  #7376  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2017, 6:59 PM
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LOL, it's funny, though not unexpected, to see Postmedia set their hair on fire about Toronto's declining prices:

Collapse in Toronto home prices may pressure Ottawa to hold off tightening

Toronto home prices have plunged more than 17% since their peak in April, which analysts say should delay changes that would make it harder for consumers to borrow..

http://business.financialpost.com/re...2-bd2edbdf3eff

Meanwhile, if you go over to the Globe & Mail and read adult take on the same story:
..Although average prices have fallen since hitting a peak in April, the strong gains from earlier in the year have not been fully erased. Despite the recent downturn, prices were still up almost 7 per cent in the first two weeks of July compared to last year. The average selling price for all types of homes in the GTA hit $760,356 in the first half of July compared to $707,847 last year...
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/repo...ticle35759792/

So it seems Torontonians participated en masse in the classic herd psychology of a commodity bubble.
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  #7377  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2017, 7:06 PM
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Originally Posted by whatnext View Post
LOL, it's funny, though not unexpected, to see Postmedia set their hair on fire about Toronto's declining prices:

Collapse in Toronto home prices may pressure Ottawa to hold off tightening

Toronto home prices have plunged more than 17% since their peak in April, which analysts say should delay changes that would make it harder for consumers to borrow..

http://business.financialpost.com/re...2-bd2edbdf3eff
Says Robert Hogue, senior economist with Royal Bank of Canada. Such an objective analyst. Yeah.

Also, I love their use of the word colapse. With price being still much higher than the same time last year, it's a little premature to say that the prices colapsed.
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  #7378  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2017, 7:42 PM
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Says Robert Hogue, senior economist with Royal Bank of Canada. Such an objective analyst. Yeah.

Also, I love their use of the word colapse. With price being still much higher than the same time last year, it's a little premature to say that the prices colapsed.

It's all because so many people want to say "I told you so" about the market collapsing when it's clearly not true. How old is this thread now? Still waiting for that bubble to pop.
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  #7379  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2017, 7:57 PM
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It's all because so many people want to say "I told you so" about the market collapsing when it's clearly not true. How old is this thread now? Still waiting for that bubble to pop.
Well, in a very real sense what happened in Toronto was a classic bubble Fear of missing out took over and prices went nuts. While the housing market hasn't "collapsed" as the headline claimed, the bubble definitely deflated. Prices stagnate or begin a long slow, decline in real terms which is what happened in Toronto in 1989.
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  #7380  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2017, 10:17 PM
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We're well into No True Scotsman territory with Toronto and Vancouver housing market volatility. If you don't accept that a 3-month drop bigger than what happened after the last bubble burst is a sign of unusual volatility then you'll never be convinced. Go borrow as much as you can and get in on the action so you can double your money by 2020!
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