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Canadian home sales edge higher in March 2019

4/18/2019

Home sales via Canadian MLS Systems edged up 0.9% in March 2019 following a sharp drop in February, leaving activity near some of the lowest levels recorded in the last six years. There was an even split between the number of markets where sales rose from the previous month and those where they waned. Among Canadas larger cities, activity improved in Victoria, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Oakville-Milton and Ottawa, whereas it declined in Greater Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, London and St. Thomas, Sudbury and Quebec City. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity fell 4.6% y-o-y to the weakest level for the month since 2013. It was also almost 12% below the 10-year average for March. That said, in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, sales were more than 20% below their 10-year average for the month. By contrast, activity is running well above-average in Quebec and New Brunswick. It will be some time before policy measures announced in the recent Federal Budget designed to help first-time homebuyers take effect, said Jason Stephen, CREAs President. In the meantime, many prospective homebuyers remain sidelined by the mortgage stress-test to varying degrees depending on where they are looking to buy. All real estate is local, and REALTORS remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future, added Stephen.
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Budget 2019

3/22/2019

To help make homeownership more affordable for first-time home buyers, Budget 2019 introduces theFirst-Time Home Buyer Incentive. The Incentive would allow eligible first-time home buyers who have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage to apply to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). It is expected that approximately 100,000 first-time home buyers would be able to benefit from the Incentive over the next three years. Since no ongoing payments would be required with the Incentive, Canadian families would have lower monthly mortgage payments. For example, if a borrower purchases a new $400,000 home with a 5 per cent down payment and a 10 per cent CMHC shared equity mortgage ($40,000), the borrowers total mortgage size would be reduced from $380,000 to $340,000, reducing the borrowers monthly mortgage costs by as much as $228 per month. Terms and conditions for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive would be released by CMHC. CMHC would offer qualified first-time home buyers a 10 per cent shared equity mortgage for a newly constructed home or a 5 per cent shared equity mortgage for an existing home. This larger shared equity mortgage for newly constructed homes could help encourage the home construction needed to address some of the housing supply shortages in Canada, particularly in our largest cities. The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive would include eligibility criteria to ensure that the program helps those with legitimate needs while ensuring that participants are able to afford the homes they purchase. The Incentive would be available to first-time home buyers with household incomes under $120,000 per year. At the same time, participants insured mortgage and the Incentive amount cannot be greater than four times the participants annual household incomes. Budget 2019 also proposes to increase the Home Buyers Plan withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, providing first-time home buyers with greater access to their Registered Retirement Savings Plan savings to buy a home.
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Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1 ¾ per cent

3/12/2019

The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 per cent. Recent data suggest that the slowdown in the global economy has been more pronounced and widespread than the Bank had forecast in its January Monetary Policy Report (MPR). While the sources of moderation appear to be multiple, trade tensions and uncertainty are weighing heavily on confidence and economic activity. It is difficult to disentangle these confidence effects from other adverse factors, but it is clear that global economic prospects would be buoyed by the resolution of trade conflicts. Many central banks have acknowledged the building headwinds to growth, and financial conditions have eased as a result. Meanwhile, progress in US-China trade talks and policy stimulus in China have improved market sentiment and contributed to firmer commodity prices. For Canada, the Bank was projecting a temporary slowdown in late 2018 and early 2019, mainly because of last years drop in oil prices. The Bank had forecast weak exports and investment in the energy sector and a decline in household spending in oil-producing provinces. However, the slowdown in the fourth quarter was sharper and more broadly based. Consumer spending and the housing market were soft, despite strong growth in employment and labour income. Both exports and business investment also fell short of expectations. After growing at a pace of 1.8 per cent in 2018, it now appears that the economy will be weaker in the first half of 2019 than the Bank projected in January. Core inflation measures remain close to 2 per cent. CPI inflation eased to 1.4 per cent in January, largely because of lower gasoline prices. The Bank expects CPI inflation to be slightly below the 2 per cent target through most of 2019, reflecting the impact of temporary factors, including the drag from lower energy prices and a wider output gap. Governing Council judges that the outlook continues to warrant a policy interest rate that is below its neutral range. Given the mixed picture that the data present, it will take time to gauge the persistence of below-potential growth and the implications for the inflation outlook. With increased uncertainty about the timing of future rate increases, Governing Council will be watching closely developments in household spending, oil markets, and global trade policy. Information note The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is April 24, 2019. The next full update of the Banks outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR at the same time. https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2019/03/fad-press-release-2019-03-06/
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Young people not in employment, education or training: What did they do in the past 12 months?

3/5/2019

Young people (aged 15 to 29) who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) are often considered to be more vulnerable than their peers, as they may face a risk of becoming disengaged or socially excluded, and could miss out on gaining skills or experience in the labour market. While Statistics Canada has previously examined the characteristics of the NEET population,1 this is the first study to examine the main activities of NEET15- to 29-year-olds over a 12-month period using Labour Force Survey (LFS) data. 2 Among the activities to be analyzed are going to school, working, caring for children, and volunteering both as a main and secondary activity. Overall, there were 6.9 million young people aged 15 to 29 in Canada in September 2018. Of those, 4.0 million were non-students (57.8%), while 2.9 million were students 3 (42.4%). Both categories (students and non-students) are then divided into the employed and the not employed. The NEET population consists of all non-students who are not employed: in September 2018, 779,000 people were in this category (11.3% of the total population aged 15 to 29). Those aged 25 to 29 comprised the largest proportion (46.8%) of young people who were NEET during the LFS reference week, followed by 20 to 24 (36.9%), and 15 to 19 (16.2%). While NEET individuals were slightly more likely to be female (52.1%) than male (47.9%) overall, those aged 15 to 19 were a few percentage points more likely to be male, and those aged 25 to 29 were similarly likely to be female. Of young people who were NEET in September 2018, 34.5% were unemployed (looking for work and available for work), and 65.5% were inactive (not looking for work). While each of these groups may be at risk of falling behind their peers on work experience, this concern is generally greater for those who are inactive, as they may face challenges entering or re-entering the labour force. Both male and female NEET individuals were more likely to be inactive than unemployed, though the share of women that were out of the labour force (72.2%) was greater than the share of men (58.2%).
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Ownership of Residential Property by Non-individuals

2/14/2019

New data released today from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program provide information on ownership of residential properties by non-individuals in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation published a report using these new data,Residential Property in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia: An Overview of Non-individual Ownership, which also includes analysis of the ownership structure of vacant land across the three provinces. The data tables include information on non-individual entities, referring to firms and governments. For the purpose of this release, they are classified into the following categories: corporations, governments, and sole proprietorships and partnerships. Information on selected sectors in which those entities operate, following sector groupings from the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), is also included in this release. Among firms and governments, corporations own the majority of residential properties Across the three provinces, corporations are the most common legal type of non-individual owners of residential properties, followed by governments. Corporations include businesses and non-profit organizations, while governments include federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments. In terms ofNAICSsectors, entities belonging to the real estate and rental and leasing sector, the public administration sector and the construction sector are the most common non-individual owners of residential properties. In Ontario, three-quarters of non-individual owned properties are held by corporations, compared with68.9% in Nova Scotia and57.3% in British Columbia. The share of non-individual owned properties held by governments is highest in British Columbia (39.0%), followed by Nova Scotia (22.9%) and Ontario (20.1%). In Nova Scotia,28.8% of residential properties held by corporations are owned by the construction sector, compared with22.5% in Ontario and21.4% in British Columbia. Among the residential properties owned by corporations, the real estate and rental and leasing sector accounts for the largest share in Ontario (31.1%) and in British Columbia (23.4%), while in Nova Scotia it represents about one-quarter of the properties held by corporations. The average assessment value of a residential property owned by corporations is highest in British Columbia at $1.3million, compared with $630,000in Ontario and $330,000in Nova Scotia. In British Columbia, corporations account for84.7% of the total assessment value of non-individual owned properties, while in Ontario and Nova Scotia this share is closer to80%. Residential properties owned by governments represent around10% of the total assessment value of properties owned by non-individuals in each province.
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Most First-Time Homebuyers Spending All They Can Afford

11/5/2018

Millennials have made up a significant portion of homebuyers in recent years and based on the 2018 Mortgage Consumer Survey, they continue to do so, representing just under half (49%) of first-time buyer respondents. Although this is a decrease from 60% in 2017 and 58% in 2016, Millennials continue to influence and shape the homebuying and mortgage process. Heres more of what we learned about Millennials and first-time buyers as a whole, powered by the 2018 Mortgage Consumer Survey. What does the typical first-time buyer profile look like? Forty percent are married, 80% are employed full-time and about one-quarter (26%) have a household income between $60,000 and $90,000. A strong percentage of them were born outside of Canada, with 22% identifying as newcomers to Canada. Mortgage professionals can help meet the unique needs of newcomers with the support of CMHCs homebuying information which is available in 8 different languages. The top 2 reasons first-time buyers bought a home: they wanted to get a first home and they felt financially ready. Although certain urban markets continue to exhibit high house prices and other barriers to entry, the survey found that 61% of first-time buyers bought a single-detached home. In fact, single-detached home was the top housing type purchased in all regions across Canada, except in British Columbia where condominium apartment was the most popular housing type. The vast majority (85%) of first-time buyers spent the most they could afford on their home, compared to 68% of repeat buyers. This indicates that first-time buyers, including Millennials, may be stretching themselves financially to purchase their home. When it comes to the down payment, savings from outside an RRSP was the main source for first-time buyers. This suggest there is an opportunity to further educate first-time buyers about other options to help fund their down payment, such as the Government of Canadas Home Buyers Plan (HBP). To get assistance with the mortgage process, first-time buyers contacted, on average, 2 brokers and 3 lenders. First-time buyer satisfaction levels with mortgage brokers and lenders remains high. However, mortgage professionals could further increase satisfaction levels by conducting more post-transaction follow-up and by providing clients with more information on closing costs, house purchase fees, interest rates, and steps involved in buying a home. CMHCs Step by Step guide is a valuable tool for mortgage professionals to share with homebuyers to ensure they feel confident throughout the entire homebuying process. https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/housing-observer-online/2018-housing-observer/most-first-time-homebuyers-spending-all-they-can-afford
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Canadian home sales activity strengthens in July

8/15/2018

Statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales were up from June to July 2018. Highlights: National home sales rose 1.9% from June to July. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 1.3% from July 2017. The number of newly listed homes edged down 1.2% from June to July. The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) in July was up 2.1% year-over-year (y-o-y). The national average sale price edged up 1% y-o-y. National home sales via Canadian MLS Systems rose 1.9% in July 2018, building on increases in each of the two previous months but still running below levels recorded from mid-2013 to the end of last year. Led by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), more than half of all local housing markets reported an increase sales activity from June to July. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 1.3% y-o-y. The result reflects fewer sales in major urban centres in British Columbia and an offsetting improvement in activity in the GTA. This years new stress-test on mortgage applicants continues to weigh on home sales but its effect may be starting to fade slightly in Toronto and nearby markets, said CREA President Barb Sukkau. The degree to which the stress-test continues to sideline home buyers varies depending on location, housing type and price range. All real estate is local, and REALTORSremain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future, said Sukkau. Improving national home sales activity in recent months obscures significant differences in regional trends for home sales and prices, said Gregory Klump, CREAs Chief Economist. Regardless, rising interest rates and this years stress test on mortgage applicants will likely prove to be difficult hurdles to overcome for many would-be first time and move-up homebuyers, heading into the second half of the year and beyond.
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