The Bank of Canada Hiked Rates Again and Isn’t Finished Yet

General Mark Goode 8 Sep

The Governing Council of the Bank of Canada raised its target for the overnight policy rate by 75 basis points today to 3.25% and signalled that the policy rate would rise further. The Bank is also continuing its policy of quantitative tightening (QT), reducing its holdings of Government of Canada bonds, which puts additional upward pressure on longer-term interest rates.

While some Bay Street analysts believed this would be the last tightening move this cycle, the central bank’s press release has dissuaded them of this notion. There has been a misconception regarding the so-called neutral range for the overnight policy rate. With inflation at 2%, the Bank of Canada economists estimated some time ago that the neutral range for the policy rate was 2%-to-3%, leading some to believe that the Bank would only need to raise their policy target to just above 3%. However, the neutral range is considerably higher, with overall inflation at 7.6% and core inflation measures rising to 5.0%-to-5.5%. In other words, 3.25% is no longer sufficiently restrictive to temper domestic demand to levels consistent with the 2% inflation target.

As the Bank points out in today’s statement, though Q2 GDP growth in Canada was slower than expected at 3.3%, domestic demand indicators were robust – “consumption grew by about 9.5%, and business investment was up by close to 12%. With higher mortgage rates, the housing market is pulling back as anticipated, following unsustainable growth during the pandemic.”

Wage rates continue to rise, and labour markets are exceptionally tight, with job vacancies at record levels. We will know more on the labour front with the release of the August jobs report this Friday. But the Bank is concerned that rising inflation expectations risk embedding wage and price gains. To forestall this, the policy interest rate will need to rise further.

Traders are now betting that another 50-bps rate hike is likely when the Governing Council meets again on October 25th. There is another meeting this year on December 6th. I expect the policy rate to end the year at 4%.

Bottom Line

The implications of today’s Bank of Canada action are considerable for the housing market. The prime rate will now quickly rise to 5.45%, increasing the variable mortgage interest rate another 75 bps, which will likely take the qualifying rate to roughly 7%.

Fixed mortgage rates, tied to the 5-year government of Canada bond yield, will also rise, but not nearly as much. The 5-year yield has reversed some of its immediate post-announcement spike and remains at about 3.27% (see charts below). Expectations of an economic slowdown have muted the impact of higher short-term interest rates on longer-term bond yields. This inversion of the yield curve is consistent with the expectation of a mild recession next year. It is noteworthy that the Bank omitted the usual comment on a soft landing in the economy in today’s press release. Bank economists realize that the price paid for inflation control might well be at least a mild recession.

Another implication of today’s policy rate hike is the prospect of fixed-payment variable-rate mortgages taken at the meagre yields of 2021 and 2022, hitting their trigger rate. There is a good deal of uncertainty around how many these will be, as the terms vary from loan to loan, but it is another factor that will overhang the economy in the next year.

We maintain the view that the economy will slow considerably in the second half of this year and through much of 2023. The Bank of Canada will hold the target policy rate at its ultimate high point– at least one or two hikes away– through much of 2023, if not beyond. A return to 2% inflation will not occur until at least 2024, and (as Governor Macklem says) the Bank’s job is not finished until then.

This article is shared from Dr. Sherry Cooper
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
drsherrycooper@dominionlending.ca

Please let me know if you have any questions,
Mark

Inflation eased…kind of. What it means for the BoC’s next rate hike?

General Mark Goode 19 Aug

Led by a drop in gas prices, Canada’s annual inflation rate eased to 7.6% in July, according to data released by Statistics Canada.

That follows a 40-year-high of 8.1% in June, which some observers believe may mark the peak in inflation. That would be welcome news for the Bank of Canada, but still not enough to keep it from hiking interest rates further when its Governing Council meets on September 7.

That’s particularly true given that the Bank’s preferred measure of core inflation continued to rise in July, reaching an annual rate of 5.3%, its highest level in over 32 years.

Highlights of July’s inflation data

Headline inflation was kept under control thanks largely to a sharp decline in gas prices, which were down 9.2% compared to June. However, they still remain 35.6% above year-ago levels, TD economist Leslie Preston noted in a research report.

Food prices, on the other hand, were up 9.9% compared to a year ago, up from 9.4% in June.

Shelter costs decelerated marginally, led by an easing of homeowners’ replacement cost, which is related to the cost of new homes. That was up 9.1% in July compared to 10% in June.

The “other owned accommodation expenses” basket, which includes real estate commissions, was up 9.7% (vs. 12.2% in June and a peak of 17.2% in April) as home prices continue to decline.

Meanwhile, the mortgage interest cost index showed its first increase since September 2020, rising 1.7% in July vs. a decline of 0.6% in June.

What it all means for the Bank of Canada

While the slight moderation in headline inflation is encouraging, observers say the rise in core inflation still poses a challenge for the Bank of Canada, which is expected to raise interest rates again next month.

“We expect the BoC to continue hiking its policy rate at an aggressive clip at its next announcement in three weeks,” said TD Bank’s Leslie Preston. “We currently expect a 50 basis point hike, but it appears market odds tipped a bit more towards a larger 75 basis point move, likely focusing on the lack of progress in core inflation measures.”

Scotiabank’s Derek Holt wrote that a 75-bps hike is more likely, given the continued rise in core measures of inflation.

“The Bank of Canada won’t care about the headline softening. They’ll be more concerned about ongoing upward pressure upon core measures,” he wrote. “The data lends itself to a 75bps move on September 7th that would bring the policy rate closer to being in very mildly restrictive territory given estimates of the neutral policy rate range of 2–3%.”

Notably, Statistics Canada made significant upward revisions dating back to May 2021 to its “common component CPI,” one of the three preferred measures of core inflation. It was revised up to 5.3% in June from 4.6%.

Overall, “This report is clearly a step in the right direction, but the journey is many miles,” noted BMO’s Douglas Porter.

“Yes, we may finally be past the peak of inflation—provided oil prices don’t run wild again—but it is likely to remain very sticky at close to 8% through the second half of this year before truly breaking lower in 2023,” he wrote. “So, while inflation is coming in a tad below what the Bank of Canada expected in their latest forecast…we still look for a minimum of a 50-bps hike at their next meeting in early September.”

Article written by Steve Huebl & shared from Canadian Mortgage Trends

Bank of Canada Shocks With 100 bps Rate Hike

General Mark Goode 14 Jul

A Super-Sized Rate Hike, Signalling More To Come

The Governing Council of the Bank of Canada raised its target for the overnight policy rate by a full percentage point to 2-1/2%. The Bank is also continuing its policy of quantitative tightening (QT), reducing its holdings of Government of Canada bonds, which puts additional upward pressure on longer-term interest rates.

In its press release this morning, the Bank said that “inflation in Canada is higher and more persistent than the Bank expected in its April Monetary Policy Report (MPR), and will likely remain around 8% in the next few months. While global factors such as the war in Ukraine and ongoing supply disruptions have been the biggest drivers, domestic price pressures from excess demand are becoming more prominent. More than half of the components that make up the CPI are now rising by more than 5%.”

The Bank is particularly concerned that inflation pressures will become entrenched. Consumer and business surveys have recently suggested that inflation expectations are rising and are expected to be higher for longer. Wage inflation has accelerated to 5.2% in the June Labour Force Survey. The unemployment rate has fallen to a record-low 4.9%, with job vacancy rates hitting a record high in Ontario and Alberta.

Central banks worldwide are aggressively hiking interest rates, and growth is slowing. “In the United States, high inflation and rising interest rates contribute to a slowdown in domestic demand. China’s economy is being held back by waves of restrictive measures to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. Oil prices remain high and volatile. The Bank expects global economic growth to slow to about 3½% this year and 2% in 2023 before strengthening to 3% in 2024.”

Further excess demand is evident in the Canadian economy. “With strong demand, businesses are passing on higher input and labour costs by raising prices. Consumption is robust, led by a rebound in spending on hard-to-distance services. Business investment is solid, and exports are being boosted by elevated commodity prices. The Bank estimates that GDP grew by about 4% in the second quarter. Growth is expected to slow to about 2% in the third quarter as consumption growth moderates and housing market activity pulls back following unsustainable strength during the pandemic.”

In the July Monetary Policy Report, released today, the Bank published its forecasts for Canada’s economy to grow by 3.5% in 2022–in line with consensus expectations–1.75% in 2023 and 2.5% in 2024. Some economists are already forecasting weaker growth next year, in line with a moderate recession. The Bank has not gone that far yet.

According to the Bank of Canada, “economic activity will slow as global growth moderates, and tighter monetary policy works its way through the economy. This, combined with the resolution of supply disruptions, will bring demand and supply back into balance and alleviate inflationary pressures. Global energy prices are also projected to decline. The July outlook has inflation starting to come back down later this year, easing to about 3% by the end of next year and returning to the 2% target by the end of 2024.”

Bottom Line
Today’s Bank of Canada reports confirmed that the Governing Council continues to judge that interest rates will need to rise further, and “the pace of increases will be guided by the Bank’s ongoing assessment of the economy and inflation.” Once again, the Bank asserted it is “resolute in its commitment to price stability and will continue to take action as required to achieve the 2% inflation target.”

At 2.5%, the policy rate is at the midpoint of its ‘neutral’ range. This is the level at which monetary policy is deemed to be neither expansionary nor restrictive. Governor Macklem said he expects the Bank to hike the target to 3% or slightly higher. Before today’s actions, markets had expected the yearend overnight rate at 3.5%.

Courtesy of Dr. Sherry Cooper
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
drsherrycooper@dominionlending.ca

Canadian Inflation Surged to 7.7% in May

General Mark Goode 24 Jun

Canada’s consumer price index increased 7.7% in May from a year earlier, up from 6.8% in April, the fastest inflation pace since January 1983. The release confirms that the Bank of Canada is staring down the most dangerous burst of Inflation since it started targeting the consumer price index in the early 1990s.

Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose 6.3% year over year in May, after a 5.8% increase in April. Price pressures continued to be broad-based, pinching the pocketbooks of Canadians and, in some cases affecting their ability to meet day-to-day expenses.

The acceleration in May was mainly due to higher gasoline prices, which rose 12.0% compared with April 2022 (-0.7%). Higher service prices, such as hotels and restaurants, also contributed to the increase. Food prices and shelter costs remained elevated in May as price growth was unchanged year-over-year.

Monthly, the CPI rose 1.4% in May, following a 0.6% increase in April. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI was up 1.1%, the fastest pace since the introduction of the series in 1992.

Wage data from the Labour Force Survey found that average hourly wages rose 3.9% year over year in May, meaning that, on average, prices rose faster than wages in the previous 12 months.

Energy prices rose 34.8% on a year-over-year basis in May, driven primarily by the most significant one-month price increase since January 2003. Compared with May 2021, consumers paid 48.0% more for gasoline in May, stemming from high crude oil prices, which also resulted in higher fuel prices (+95.1%).

Crude oil prices rose in May due to supply uncertainty amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as higher demand as travel continued to grow in response to eased COVID-19 restrictions.

Grocery prices remained elevated in May as prices for food purchased from stores rose 9.7%, matching the gain in April. With price increases across nearly all food products, Canadians reported food as the area in which they were most affected by rising prices. Supply chain disruptions and higher transportation and input costs continued to put upward pressure on prices.

In May, shelter costs rose 7.4% year over year, matching the increase in April. Year over year, homeowners’ replacement costs rose to a lesser extent in May (+11.1%) compared with April (+13.0%), as prices for new homes showed signs of cooling.

Although prices for mortgage interest costs continued to decrease on a year-over-year basis, prices fell less in May (-2.7%) compared with April (-4.4%), putting upward pressure on the headline CPI.

 

Bottom Line

All central banks worldwide (except Japan) face much more than expected inflation. Today’s 7.7% inflation report for May increases the urgency for the Bank of Canada to quickly withdraw stimulus from an overheating economy for fear of price pressures becoming entrenched in inflation expectations and the economy. Tapping on the brakes isn’t good enough. As a result the Bank must expedite the return to a neutral level of interest rates, which likely means the top of the neutral range at 3% for the overnight rate. It currently stands at only 1.5%.

We expect a 75 basis point hike on July 13, bringing the policy rate up to 2.25%. Markets are currently predicting that rate to go to 3.5% by yearend. That might well be too high, but right now, the Bank needs to prove its inflation-fighting credibility, even if it drives the economy into recession. As a result, it will continue to slow the housing market, reversing some of the 50% increase in national home prices over the past three years.

According to Bloomberg News, Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Rogers was asked today about the possibility of a ‘super-sized’ move. She said, “We’ve been clear all along the economy is in excess demand, inflation is too high, rates need to go up. We’ll get it there.” Suggesting the possibility of an even larger than 75 bp rate hike.

The 7.7% annual reading may not even represent the peak, given that gasoline prices have picked up further in June.

The full range of core inflation measures surged in May, suggesting that price pressures go well beyond food and energy. The chart above shows that the Bank of Canada has consistently underestimated inflation. So have other central banks. They are bringing out the big guns now, and the housing market will always take the biggest hit.

 

Please Note: The source of this article is from SherryCooper.com/category/articles/

Canadian Inflation Shows No Signs Of Abating

General Mark Goode 18 May

 

Inflation at 6.8% is unmitigated bad news. The Bank of Canada looks flat-footed again, having forecast that Inflation would be at least a full percentage point lower by now. What’s worse, inflation looks likely to rise again this month given the surge in gasoline prices from April to May.

Today’s report raises the urgency for policymakers to withdraw stimulus from the economy quickly. Look for another 50 bp rate hike on June 1 and again in July. Markets are pricing in an overnight rate as high as 3% by the end of the year. It is currently at 1%.

In April, Canadian consumer prices rose 6.8% y/y, up slightly from March’s 6.7% pace despite a slowdown in the pace of gasoline inflation. The April inflation rise was driven mainly by food and shelter prices. Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose 5.8% in April, after a 5.5% gain in March. This was the fastest pace since the introduction of the all-items excluding gasoline special aggregate in 1999.

Since late February, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has boosted energy, commodity, and, most notably, food prices.

The Canadian economy’s strength has added to inflation pressure. The unemployment rate is at a record low. Average hourly wages rose 3.3% y/y last month. With prices rising faster than wages, Canadian families are experiencing reduced purchasing power.

In April, Canadians paid 9.7% more for food purchased from stores compared with April 2021. This rise, which exceeded 5% for the fifth month in a row, was the most significant increase since September 1981.

In April, shelter costs rose 7.4% y/y, the fastest pace since June 1983, following a 6.8% increase in March. Higher prices for energy sources used to heat homes, such as natural gas (+22.2%) and fuel oil and other fuels (+64.4%), contributed to the rise.

Reflecting the dynamic Canadian housing market, homeowners’ replacement cost (+13.0%) is related to the price of new homes and other owned accommodation expenses (+17.2%), which include commissions on the sale of real estate; both rose sharply in April.

The mortgage interest cost Index (+0.2%) increased on a m/m basis for the first time since April 2020.

Rent prices increased in April (+4.5%) compared with the same month in 2021. The rent hike was mostly driven by price increases in Canada’s most populous provinces: Ontario (+5.3%), Quebec (+4.3%) and British Columbia (+6.4%).

While monthly, Inflation slowed in April (0.6%) compared to March (1.4%), the surge in gasoline price in May portends continued high Inflation in next month’s CPI report.

 

Bottom Line

Bloomberg News reported this morning that “The inflation surge has made the Bank of Canada a target of criticism, with some politicians accusing Macklem of moving too slowly. Immediately after the inflation data was published, Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre released a statement reiterating he plans to fire Macklem should he ever win power.”

The pressure is on for more rate hikes. Central banks all over the world are under similar pressure. Central bank tightening will slow demand, as we have seen already in the Canadian housing data for March and April. It does not address the supply disruptions that are the root cause of much of the inflation pressure.

 

Article Source: drsherrycooper@dominionlending.ca

Canadian Labour Market Tightens As Unemployment Rate Hits New Low

General Mark Goode 9 May

Labour Market Bumps Up Against Capacity Constraints

Job vacancies abound in many sectors, yet employers have trouble finding workers to fill those jobs and retaining workers with so many options available. As the jobless rate falls to new record lows, net new employment has slowed. This is not dissimilar to the housing market, where supply is insufficient to meet demand. Home sales are slowing in response to very low inventories, which are now compounded by rising mortgage rates.

Statistics Canada released the April Labour Force Survey this morning, reporting a slowdown in job gains to 15,300, a mere fraction of the  72,500 jump last month and the whopping 337,000 surge in February.  The April figure was way below the 40,000 rise anticipated by economists.

After reaching a record low of 5.3% in March, the unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to a series-low of 5.2% last month, compared to the 5.7% level posted before the pandemic. There is considerable excess demand for workers as the economy failed to produce any new growth in labour supply. In April, hours worked declined 1.9%, reflecting a jump in Covid-related absences and disability.

Increases in employment in professional, scientific and technical services and public administration were offset by construction and retail trade declines. These two sectors are reporting significant labour shortages. The federal government hopes to double the housing supply over the next decade, but to do so, homebuilders need many more construction workers.

More people worked in the Atlantic region and Alberta, while employment fell in Quebec. At the national level, employment gains among core-aged women aged 25 to 54 were offset by a decrease among core-age men.

Average hourly wages were up 3.3% (+$0.99 to $31.06) year over year, similar to the growth observed in March (+$1.03; +3.4%). Since consumer prices have risen 6.7% year-over-year, wages are not keeping up with inflation.

Many signs have pointed to an increasingly tight labour market in recent months. In addition to increases in full-time work, one aspect of this tightening has been a decrease in part-time workers reporting that they would prefer full-time employment. The involuntary part-time employment rate fell to 15.7% in April 2022, the lowest level on record. The involuntary part-time rate had been elevated over the first 18 months of the pandemic and peaked at 26.5% in August 2020, as many workers faced challenges securing full-time employment.

There are signs that wage inflation could accelerate in response to continued high job vacancy rates and tightening labour supply.

Bottom Line

Mounting inflation pressure point to another 50 basis point hike in the overnight rate when the Bank of Canada meets again on June 1. Governor Mackem has stated that a full half-point increase will be in play. That will take the policy rate up to 1.5%, compared to 1.75% immediately before the pandemic. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated supply disruptions and markedly increased key commodity prices. Canada’s economy remains strong–the strongest in the G-7–owing to the relatively large commodity sector. Markets expect the overnight rate to hit close to 3% by yearend. However, the Bank will adjust its plans based on incoming data. Preliminary evidence suggests that housing activity weakened in April due to rising mortgage rates and insufficient supply.

Please Note: The source of this article is from SherryCooper.com/category/articles/

Canadian Home Sales Begin to Slow in March

General Mark Goode 19 Apr

Canadian March Home Sales Posted Their Biggest Decline Since June

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that rising interest rates were already dampening housing activity well before the Bank of Canada’s jumbo spike in the key policy rate in mid-April. National home sales fell back by 5.4% on a month-over-month basis in March. The decline puts activity back in line with where it had been since last fall (see chart below).

New Listings

The number of newly listed homes fell back by 5.5% on a month-over-month basis in March, following a jump in February. The monthly decline was led by Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Calgary and the GTA.

With sales and new listings falling in equal measure in March, the sales-to-new listings ratio stayed at 75.3% compared to 75.2% in February. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 55.1%.

About two-thirds of local markets were seller’s markets based on the sales-to-new listings ratio is more than one standard deviation above its long-term mean in March 2022. The other third of local markets were in balanced market territory.

There were 1.8 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of March 2022 — up from a record-low of just 1.6 months in the previous three months. The long-term average for this measure is more than five months.

 

Home Prices

 

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up 1% on a month-over-month basis in March 2022 – a marked slowdown from the record 3.5% increase in February.

The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up by 27.1% on a year-over-year basis in March. The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average home price was $796,000 in March 2022, up 11.2% from last year’s same month.

Bottom Line

The March housing report is ancient history, as sharp increases in market-driven interest rates have changed the fundamentals. This report also precedes the 50 basis point hike in the overnight policy rate by the Bank of Canada. Anecdotal evidence thus far in April suggests that new listings have risen, and multiple bidding has nearly disappeared.

The rise in current fixed mortgage rates means that homebuyers must qualify for uninsured mortgages at the offered mortgage rate plus 200 bps–above the 5.25% qualifying rate in place since June 2021. This, no doubt will squeeze some buyers out of higher-priced markets.

The federal budget introduced some initiatives to help first-time homebuyers and encourage housing construction–but these measures are hitting roadblocks. Labour shortages are plaguing the construction industry, and the feds do not control zoning and planning restrictions but at the local government level. The ban on foreign resident purchases will likely have only a small impact, so the fundamental issue of a housing shortage remains the biggest impediment to more affordable housing in Canada.

 

Please Note: The source of this article is from SherryCooper.com/category/articles/

Housing A Major Theme in Federal Budget

General Mark Goode 8 Apr

Affordable Housing Is A Key Theme In Federal Budget 2022

 

Today’s budget announced a $10 billion package of proposals intended to reduce the cost of housing in Canada (see box below). The fundamental problem is insufficient supply to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population base. Thanks to the federal government’s policy to rapidly increase immigration since 2015, new household formation has risen far faster than housing completions, both for rent and purchase. This excess demand has markedly pushed home prices to levels beyond average-income Canadians’ means.

The measures announced in today’s budget to increase housing construction, though welcome, are underwhelming. The Feds can control the construction of lower-cost housing through CMHC. Still, most home building is under the auspices of the municipal governments, where the red tape, zoning restrictions and delays abound. The federal government increased funds to help local governments address these issues, but NIMBY thinking still prevents increased housing density in many neighbourhoods.

The headline policy announcement for a two-year ban on foreign residential property purchases may sound reasonable. Still, according to Phil Soper, chief executive of Royal LePage, “It will have a negligible impact on home prices. We know from the pandemic period, when home prices escalated with virtually no foreign money, that our problem is made-in-Canada.”

According to the Financial Post, Soper added that measures like the tax-free savings account for young Canadians would be encouraged to help them achieve their dreams of homeownership in a typical real estate market. However, in a low-supply environment with pandemic-fueled price gains, these measures would only add more demand without addressing the supply issue. Only a few first-time buyers would be able to take advantage of it.

The Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights that would end blind bidding and assures the right to a home inspection and transparent historical sales prices on title searches is also long overdue.

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive has been extended to March 2025. This program has been a bust. Buyers do not want to share the equity in their homes with CMHC. The Feds are taking another kick at the can, “exploring options to make the program more flexible and responsive to the needs of first-time homebuyers, including single-led households.” To date, the limits on the program have made them useless in high-priced markets such as the GTA and the GVA.

 

Budget 2022 Measures To Improve Housing Affordability
Tax-Free Home Savings Account

  • Introduce the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account that would give prospective first-time home buyers the ability to save up to $40,000. Like an RRSP, contributions would be tax-deductible, and withdrawals to purchase a first home—including investment income—would be non-taxable, like a TFSA.

New Housing Accelerator Fund

  • With the target of creating 100,000 net new housing units over five years, proposes to provide $4 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23, to launch a new Housing Accelerator Fund that is flexible to the needs and realities of cities and communities, while providing them support such as an annual per-door incentive or up-front funding for investments in municipal housing planning and delivery processes that will speed up housing development.

 New Affordable Housing

  • To ensure that more affordable housing can be built quickly, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $1.5 billion over two years, starting in 2022-23, to extend the Rapid Housing Initiative. This new funding is expected to create at least 6,000 new affordable housing units, with at least 25% of funding going towards women-focused housing projects.

An Extended and More Flexible First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

  •  Extension of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive–which allows eligible first-time homebuyers to lower their borrowing costs by sharing the cost of buying a home with the government–to March 31, 2025. Explore options to make the program more flexible and responsive to the needs of first-time homebuyers, including single-led households.

A Ban on Foreign Investment in Canadian Housing

  • Proposes restrictions that would prohibit foreign commercial enterprises and people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents from acquiring non-recreational, residential property in Canada for a two-year period.

 Property Flippers Pay Their Fair Share

  • Introduce new rules so that any person who sells a property they have held for less than 12 months would be subject to full taxation on their profits as business income, applying to residential properties sold on or after January 1, 2023. Exemptions would apply to Canadians who sell their home due to certain life circumstances, such as a death, disability, the birth of a child, a new job, or a divorce.

Rent-to-Own Projects

  • Provide $200 million in dedicated support under the existing Affordable Housing Innovation Fund. This will include $100 million to support non-profits, co-ops, developers, and rent-to-own companies building new rent-to-own units.

Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights

  • Bring forward a national plan to end blind bidding. Among other things, the Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights could also include ensuring a legal right to a home inspection and ensuring transparency on the history of sales prices on title searches.

Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit

  • Provide up to $7,500 in support for constructing a secondary suite for a senior or an adult with a disability, starting in 2023.

Doubling the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit 

  • Double the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit amount to $10,000, providing up to $1,500 in direct support to home buyers, applying to homes purchased on or after January 1, 2022.

Co-Operative Housing Development

  • Reallocate funding of $500 million to a new Co-Operative Housing Development Program to expand co-op housing in Canada. Provide an additional $1 billion in loans to be reallocated from the Rental Construction Financing Initiative to support co-op housing projects.

There is also a laundry list of other programs to create additional affordable housing for Indigenous Peoples, Northern Communities, and vulnerable Canadians. Enhanced tax credits for renovations to allow seniors or disabled family members to move in; and for seniors to improve accessibility in their homes. As well, money is provided for long-term efforts to end homelessness.

To combat money laundering, the government said it would extend anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing requirements to all mortgage-lending businesses within the next year.

For greener housing initiatives, the government is planning to provide $150 million over five years starting this year to drive building code reform to focus on building low-carbon construction projects and $200 million over the same timeline for building retrofits large development projects.

 

Bottom Line

Nothing the federal government has done in today’s budget will make much of a difference in the housing market. What does make a difference is the spike in interest rates that is already in train. Fixed mortgage rates are up to around 4%, and variable mortgage rates have begun their ascent. There is still a record gap between the two, but the Bank of Canada will likely hike the policy rate by 50 bps next week. The Bank will probably hike interest rates at every meeting for the remainder of the year and continue into the first half of next year.

It is also noteworthy what Budget 2022 did not do. It did not address REITs or investment activity by domestic non-flipping purchasers. Some were expecting a rise in minimum downpayment on investor purchases or restrictions on using HELOCs for their funding.

Budget 2022 did not raise the cap of $1 million on insurable mortgages. It did not reinstate 30-year amortization, a favourite of the NDP. And, it did not follow the BC provincial government in allowing a “cooling-off” period after a bid has been accepted, technically giving would-be buyers more time to secure financing.

 

Artical Author: Dr. Sherry Cooper
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
drsherrycooper@dominionlending.ca

Canadian Home Sales Rose in February as New Listings Increased Sharply

General Mark Goode 23 Mar

New Listings Finally Show Some Life

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that national home sales were up in February 2022 as buyers jumped on the first spring listings. The number of newly listed properties surged a welcome 23.7% from extremely depressed levels, hopefully portending a much-needed increase in supply that will continue for the spring selling season. National home sales rose 4.6% month-over-month in February as prices rose 3.5%, taking the y/y price gain to a record 29.2%.

In February, sales were up in about 60% of local markets, led by some big jumps in Calgary and Edmonton. The GTA also outperformed the national averages.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions in February 2022 came in 8.2% below the monthly record set in 2021. That said, as was the case in January and throughout the second half of 2021, it was still the second-highest level on record for that month.

New Listings

The pullback in new listings in January was reversed in February, rebounding by 23.7% m/m. The monthly gain was led by the GTA, Calgary and the Fraser Valley.

With sales up by quite a bit less than new listings in February, the sales-to-new listings ratio fell back to 75.3% after having shot up briefly to 89% in January. The February reading puts the measure roughly back in line with where it has been since the summer of 2020. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 55.1%.

About two-thirds of local markets were seller’s markets based on the sales-to-new listings ratio is more than one standard deviation above its long-term mean in February 2022. The other third of local markets were in balanced market territory.

There were just 1.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of February 2022 — tied with January 2022 and December 2021 for the lowest level ever recorded. The long-term average for this measure is a little over five months.

 

Home Prices

There were just 1.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of February 2022 — tied with January 2022 and December 2021 for the lowest level ever recorded. The long-term average for this measure is a little over 5 months.

Compared to the national year-over-year increase, gains remain about on par in British Columbia, lower in the Prairies and Newfoundland & Labrador, a little lower in Quebec and Prince Edward Island, and a little higher in Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The regional differences under the surface of those provincial numbers can be seen in the table below.

 

Bottom Line

Canada has the most significant housing shortage in the G7. This began in late 2015 when the federal government decided it would target the entry of much larger numbers of economic immigrants. Canada is “underpopulated” and celebrates a growing population, unlike many other countries. There are many job vacancies to be filled, and more people means more economic growth and prosperity for Canada.

In mid-February, the federal government revised up its targets for immigration this year and next (see chart below), raising the spectre of even more significant housing shortages going forward. While CMHC announced an 8% rise in February housing starts this morning, home completions are not keeping up with the increase in household formation. The only solution is a sharp increase in new home construction for sale and rent. This requires local zoning regulations to increase housing density and measures to speed up the approval processes.

This month, the Bank of Canada began their rate-hiking cycle with much more to come. We believe they will raise the overnight rate again on April 13, with the likelihood of five more rate hikes this year. That would take the overnight rate up to 2.0% by yearend. The Ukraine War has added to future uncertainty, but it has also boosted inflation pressures and increased the risk of a marked economic slowdown. All in, home price pressures are likely to dissipate for the remainder of this year and well into next year.

 

Article from: https://dominionlending.ca/economic-insights/canadian-home-sales-rose-in-february-as-new-listings-increased-sharply

 

Bank of Canada Leaves Expectations For 2022 Rate Hikes Intact

General Mark Goode 9 Dec

The Bank of Canada decided to keep its target for the overnight rate at 0.25%, in line with forecasts and to maintain its forward guidance, which sees a rise in the overnight rate sometime in the middle quarters of 2022. Until then, policymakers vowed to provide an adequate degree of monetary stimulus to support Canada’s economy and achieve the inflation target of 2%. On the price front, the ongoing supply disruptions continue to support high inflation rates, but gasoline prices, which have been a significant upside risk factor, have recently declined. Still, the BoC expects inflation to remain elevated in the first half of 2022 and ease towards 2% in the second half of the year. Finally, recent economic indicators suggested the economy had considerable momentum in Q4, namely in the labour and housing markets. Still, the omicron variant of the coronavirus and the devastation left by the floods in British Columbia has added to downside risks.

The Bank’s press release went on to say, “The Governing Council judges that in view of ongoing excess capacity, the economy continues to require considerable monetary policy support. We remain committed to holding the policy interest rate at the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2% inflation target is sustainably achieved. In the Bank’s October projection, this happens sometime in the middle quarters of 2022. We will provide the appropriate degree of monetary policy stimulus to support the recovery and achieve the inflation target.”

In October, the Bank ended its bond-buying program and is now in its reinvestment stage. It maintains its Government of Canada bonds holdings by replacing securities as they mature.

Bottom Line

Traders continue to bet that the Bank of Canada will hike interest rates by 25 basis points five times next year. This would take the overnight rate from 0.25% to 1.5%. I think this might be overly hawkish, expecting a more cautious stance of three rate hikes next year to a year-end level of 1.0%. This expectation has already had an impact on economic activity. According to local real estate boards reporting in the past week, November home sales were boosted by buyers hoping to lock in mortgage rates before they rise further next year.

Dr. Sherry Cooper
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres