1.Walter Melanson Sheds Light on Real Estate Implications of Bankruptcy
The beauty about PropertyGuys.com is that we have experts in all fields, including highly experienced real estate lawyers, including Stuart Murray, from Mullin Law.
But in order to understand how bankruptcy impacts your home ownership, we must first understand what a bankruptcy is under Canadian law. In simple terms, a personal bankruptcy is a legal process where the assets of the estate (the estate is everything you legally own) are distributed among the people, institutions and businesses you owe money to. The person responsible for making this happen is the bankruptcy trustee—a person appointed to administer the estate.
2.Canada Revenue Agency Launches Probe into Vancouver Housing Market
The Canada Revenue Agency has launched an investigation into the red-hot housing market in Metro Vancouver, where rampant speculation, unscrupulous dealings and foreign investment are being blamed for driving up the cost of homes and helping to create an affordability crisis. A sensitive government briefing document leaked to The Globe and Mail and some other media outlets states that 50 income-tax auditors, 20 GST auditors and 15 workload-development officers are now investigating real estate tax issues in the Pacific region. The document states that the agency is conducting audits in an attempt to detect flipping, to identify builders who don’t comply with filing regulations or who under-report GST, and to measure compliance with non-resident filing requirements. It also indicates that the CRA is collaborating with FinTRAC on “lifestyle audits.”
3.Toronto Real Estate Board Appeals Competition Tribunal Decision
The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is appealing a decision that allows its members to post more home sales data online for all to see. The board, which has some 45,000 active realtors, is arguing that the April ruling handed down by Canada’s Competition Tribunal doesn’t respect the rights of Greater Toronto Area consumers and may compromise their privacy due to the personal financial information that would be divulged. If the ruling stands, TREB said in a news release, GTA homeowners would have less privacy protection than other Canadians. TREB’s CEO John DiMichele said the ruling “opens the door to misuse and abuse of their sensitive personal financial information.”
4.Housing Markets not named Toronto or Vancouver showing signs of life
Most of the country’s housing markets heated up in June, according to new data that shows Toronto and Vancouver continue to heavily influence the national average, but aren’t alone in making gains. While much of the house price acceleration conversation has been about Canada’s two most expensive cities for homes, the Teranet and National Bank of Canada House Price Index released Wednesday, showed strong price growth in nine out of 11 markets — growth being delivered by long-term mortgage rates that are closing in on two per cent.
“That’s the story. Except for Calgary and Edmonton, and we know the economy is struggling there, June was above historical norms,” said Matthieu Arseneau senior economist with National Bank. Existing home prices across the country rose 2.3 per cent in June from May, aided by Vancouver and Toronto which recorded a 2.6 per cent and 3.3 per cent gains respectively. But other parts of the country are also beginning to show life.
5. Economists at Odds on Influence of Foreign Investors on Housing Market
One economist calls in complete nonsense while another wonders how anyone can suggest foreign investors are not having an influence on the market.
Without naming anyone, Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter has called out a report from Wednesday which suggested it was “complete nonsense” that price gains in Toronto were justified based on foreign buying, among other issues.
“It appears that not everyone believes, as we do, that a recent rapid escalation in foreign buying is a driving factor behind the recent surge in Vancouver and Toronto home prices,” said Porter, in a economic note, adding the finance minister in British Columbia has said the influence on foreign buyer is factual and beyond conjecture. Using a small sample of 19 days in June, the British Columbia government found about five per cent of purchases in the Greater Vancouver area were being made by foreign buyers. This week, in response to requests from the city of Vancouver, it agreed to give the municipality the power to tax owners of vacant properties — a punitive measure said to be aimed at overseas buyers.
6. Bank of Canada Holds Interest Rate Steady Once Again
The Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.5% on Wednesday, but says overly high house prices in some cities and the threat of Brexit are risks to Canada’s economy down the line. The bank’s rate, known as the target rate for overnight loans, affects the rates that Canadians get offered from retail banks for their savings accounts and mortgages. Eight times a year, the central bank meets to decide where to set the rate, based on how the economy is performing. In its decision on Wednesday, the central bank said: “The fundamentals remain in place for a pickup in growth” in the economy some time down the line. But despite deciding to sit on the sidelines, the bank did warn that the economy is seesawing up and down more than usual.
7. Record Housing Starts in Vancouver and Toronto, but Sales Slip Nationally
“If you demand it, they will build it,” Diana Petramala quips. The Toronto-Dominion Bank economist is referring to the jump in housing starts recorded in June as developers scramble to erect condos, townhouses and single-family dwellings in Canada’s most scorching markets. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported this week that Canadian housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 218,333 units in June from 186,709 in May. As usual in the Canadian real estate landscape of recent years, Vancouver and Toronto drove the increase. Across much of the rest of the country, starts were down. In British Columbia, starts climbed an eye-popping 38 per cent, while in Ontario the gain was 27 per cent. Meanwhile, sales of existing Canadian homes fell in June from May, the second consecutive monthly drop, as declines in Toronto and Vancouver outweighed gains elsewhere, a report from the Canadian Real Estate Association showed on Friday. The industry group for real estate agents said sales were down a seasonally adjusted 0.9 per cent last month from May. Actual sales, not seasonally adjusted, were up 5.2 per cent from June 2015.
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Gavin is a media relations consultant and news junkie based out of Collingwood, Ontario.