Monday, June 2, 2014

May results and a whine from the mortgage industry

May numbers are in, and they're about as expected.  714 sales which puts us on the low middle between a hot market (963 in May 2007) and a moribund one (572 in May 2011).   Prices are well within the margin of noise, with SFH medians up a bit, and townhouses and condos flat.

Just Jack has it right when he says that the market is very fragmented.  There are both reasonably good deals in certain segments, while others have barely declined at all.  The best options price-wise seem to be those houses that have one or two little defects, or a few year old condos.  Unless that condo is cash flow positive, it's likely a losing proposition in the foreseeable future.

While Victoria's market is spectacularly unexciting, the rest of the country seems to be doing ok, with just a few cracks showing in such unimportant places like Halifax and Quebec..  and Ottawa...  and Montreal.  Not to worry.   However just in case there is something to worry about - like more government regulation - the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals are either hosting their annual get together for hay fever suffers (CAAMP ACCHA!), or have released their spring quarterly report.    In there they conclude that the 2012 mortgage changes were inappropriate, in that they apparently didn't do much to slow price appreciation in Canada.

Otherwise there isn't much of interest, mostly because the survey isn't worth a lot.  When they claim that average Canadian homeowner equity has increased by 6 percentage points in 6 months, you can pretty much judge the validity of the rest of the numbers.

One interesting tidbit:  Adding up the increased payments and lump sum payments, we get 12 billion in additional mortgage pay down in 2013.   Pretty impressive right?  Except at the same time home owners extracted $52.7 billion in equity out of their homes.  Well I'm sure the economy won't miss that $40 billion in spending when that well dries up.