Here’s your weekly cheat sheet on the most important stories in real estate.
Canadian Real Estate
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is a little concerned about how you got that mortgage. Mobile Mortgage Specialists (MMS) meet you wherever, to discuss taking out a mortgage. Some banks now get over 90% of their mortgages from this channel. Great for the banks, but it may not be the best news for borrowers.
The government is worried MMS receive incentives to increase sales, with little supervision. These incentives turn MMS into commission only salespeople, that have little reason to present consumers with the best options. Combine this with “insufficient controls,” and you have salespeople instead of mortgage specialists. This brings concerns that consumer interests are secondary to commissions.
Canadian real estate offices are seeing a big decline in output, helping to drop GDP numbers. GDP reached $1.760 trillion in February, a 0.12% decline from the month before. The output of real estate agents and brokers represented $10.03 billion of those dollars, a 12.75% decline from the month before. The decline for the industry is the largest single month decline since November 2009.
The good news? Less Canadians are filing for bankruptcy. The bad news? They’re filing for a more mild form of insolvency. Total insolvencies in Canada reached 9,308 filings in January, a 2.93% increase from last year. Consumer proposals, a form of early intervention from full blown bankruptcy, reached 5,327 filings. The rise in proposals is the largest annual rise in bankruptcy for January, in over 5 years.
Dollar volumes of impaired mortgages are spiking at Canadian banks, but it’s not what you think. A new accounting standard called International Financial Reporting Standard 9 (IFRS-9) was adopted in the most recent quarter. The new standard automatically includes securitized mortgages after 90 days of non-payment. Previously CMHC securitized mortgages were not included in these numbers, until 365 days of non-payment. The result is numbers are spiking, but most likely due to the inclusion of these mortgages. Not necessarily a spike in new defaults.
US Real Estate
It’s been 12 years since US real estate prices last peaked, and they’ve finally recovered from the Great Recession. The S&P Case Shiller 20 City Index shows a reading of 207.4%, a 6.34% increase from last year. This is the first time we’ve passed the peak in 2006, and the increase took 77% longer than the previous climb. Despite the slower climb, the rise is still considered to be extremely fast when you crunch the numbers.
Toronto Real Estate
Greater Toronto real estate prices made the first annual decline in a very long time. The benchmark price of a composite home reached $760,800 in March, a 1.5% decline compared to the year before. Despite being higher than the month before, this is the first annual decline since 2009.
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