We know you’ve been busy, so here’s your weekly cheat sheet on the most important real estate stories. You’re welcome.
Canadian Real Estate
Canadian mortgage debt resumed growth in February, despite taking a break the month before. Total household debt rose to $2.125 tillion, a 0.5% increase compared to the month before. Of that, $1.523 trillion was mortgage debt, up 0.08% from the month before. The increase may be tiny, but was unexpected after last month’s declines, which were attributed to changes in mortgage rules.
Record household debt levels, mean record household debt payments. Statistics Canada numbers show Canadians devoted $178.11 billion to service their debt. That’s up 5.56% from the same time last year. Despite interest rates being at near historic lows, over $83.126 billion of those payments, were just for interest. Half of that interest was on mortgages.
It’s rumored that “supply and demand” are the first words Canadians learn. However, what’s often not discussed is supply curve manipulation, a concept first observed over 200 years ago. In this article we run through an observation that James Maitland, a.k.a. the 8th Earl of Lauderdale, developed. This concept became known as the “Lauderdale Paradox.” The paradox focuses on artificial scarcity, and uses an example of tobacco farmers burning excess supply, to ensure high prices. Which brings us to this: Is Canadian real estate scare, or is excess supply being burnt?
The cost of living showed an unexpected surge in February, but it was even higher in Toronto and Vancouver. Statistics Canada (StatsCan) numbers show Canada’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.16%, 0.16 points above target. As high as that is, Toronto came in at 2.64%, about 22% faster than the national number. At least it wasn’t as bad as Vancouver, which came in at 3.27%, more that 51% higher than the national average. The high price of city living is getting worse, and fast.
Numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show declining demand in Canada’s major markets. The biggest change was observed in Toronto, where the sales to new listings ratio dropped to “balanced market” territory. The decline is the largest change in the country, when compared to last year.
Juwai, China’s largest overseas real estate portal, is teaming up with JD.com, China’s largest retail company, to sell foreign real estate. The new project, which goes live in April, will see Juwai’s Canadian real estate listings, listed on JD.com’s platform. Buyers in Mainland China can then click on the home they want, and be contacted by a Juwai representative to complete the deal. Buying a Canadian home is now easier in China, than it is in Canada.
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