Four in Ten Canadians Say Now Is a Good Time To Buy

November 21, 2008

Edmonton Journal

Canadians are still in a mood to mortgage.  Nearly 4 in 10 Canadians still think that now is a good time to buy a house, even though the proportion who expect home prices to fall further has soared and the proportion expecting higher housing prices has plunged, according to survey results published Tuesday.

“Residential mortgage consumers remain remarkably positive as they weather the financial storm,” the CAAMP said in releasing the results of a mid-October survey.

Attitudes toward local conditions have shifted only slightly, with 38 percent of Canadians believing now is a good time to buy a house, and still outweighing the 32 percent who believe it is a bad time, it said in releasing the findings of the online survey of 2,000 Canadians.

Meanwhile, only 0.28 percent of mortgages are in arrears, a proportion that is not only low but also steady, it said. And an overwhelming 84 percent of homeowners are satisfied with their mortgages.  Still, the proportion expecting home prices to fall has more than doubled from last fall to 35 percent, while the proportion expecting prices to go up has dropped by half to 20 percent.

“Westerners, who have endured particularly hot housing markets, are the most negative,” it said, noting that’s especially the case in British Columbia, where 48 percent expect prices to fall.
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CMHC: Housing Starts Remained Strong in October

November 19, 2008

OTTAWA – The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 211,800 units in October, down from 218,600 units in September, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).“Housing starts remained strong in October and are consistent with our new home construction forecast for 2008,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “The slight decrease in housing starts is the result of declines in both single-detached and multiple starts in October.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts eased 4.2 per cent in October, compared to September. Urban multiples declined in October by 6.0 per cent to 115,300 units. Urban single starts decreased 1.1 per cent to 69,300 units in October compared to September.
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US News: Housing Agency Widen Homeowner Help

November 11, 2008

Nov 12th 2008  WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Housing agencies announced on Tuesday a plan to ease mortgage payments for troubled borrowers through mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Homeowners who face foreclosure and are spending more than 38 percent of their income on mortgage payments could have their monthly payments reduced by Fannie and Freddie, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said.

“The streamlined modification program complements existing loan mitigation programs,” Federal Housing Finance Agency chief James Lockhart said at a news conference.

Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) – Published November 10, 2008

November 11, 2008

In line with the recent downward revisions of Canadian economic and job growth forecasts, The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is updating its MLS® housing market forecast for the balance of 2008, and 2009. National home sales activity is now forecast to decrease by 12 per cent to 461,200 units in 2008, and decrease by three per cent in 2009. The number of new listings is forecast to decline further from the peak reached in the second quarter of 2008, with levels in 2009 on par with levels in 2007.

Fewer new listings will stabilize the resale housing market in 2009. Average home prices will reach new heights in nearly all provinces in 2008, but declining activity in higher priced markets will hold the national average price stable this year compared to 2007.

Average price is forecast to reach new heights in six of ten provinces in 2009, but lower sales activity in British Columbia will continue weighing on the national average price. The national average price is forecast to ease by 2.1 per cent in 2009.

Canadian economic growth is forecast to start improving in the second half of 2009 before accelerating in 2010. Re-aligning housing market balance and improving home affordability will set the stage for an improving housing market in 2010.

“Canadian economic growth is being sideswiped by financial market turmoil, slowing world economic growth, and weaker commodity prices,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “The question of whether Canada will avoid a technical recession is moot, growth will be slow enough that it will feel like a recession.”

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Consumer Confidence Key to Housing Market Conditions (BC)

November 6, 2008

Consumer Confidence Key to Housing Market Conditions – British Columbia Real Estate Association. Fall Housing Forecas

Vancouver, BC – October 29, 2008. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its fall 2008 Housing Forecast today. BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to decline 28 per cent from 102,805 units in 2007 to 73,700 units this year. A modest 4 per cent increase to 76,500 units is forecast for 2009.

“The erosion of consumer confidence that began with rising fuel prices earlier in the year is continuing, as the global financial crisis and volatile equity markets have BC households concerned about their own finances,” said Cameron Muir, Chief Economist. A weaker provincial economy is expected to increase the jobless rate from 4.4 per cent this year to 4.9 per cent in 2009. “While some job losses will occur next year, BC households will remain on a relatively solid financial footing,” added Muir.

The average MLS® residential price is forecast to increase 3 per cent to $453,000 this year. However, home prices peaked in the first quarter and have been edging lower for several months.

For 2009, the average price is forecast to decline 9 per cent to $413,000, with most of the decrease having already occurred by the end this year. Downward pressure on home prices is expected to ease by the second quarter of 2009, as an increase in affordability and consumer confidence induces a modest growth in sales. The inventory of homes for sale is also expected to decline in the coming months as potential home sellers delay putting their homes on the market until conditions improve.