Vancouver Ready to Burst?

June 20, 2011
The Vancouver real estate market has been the subject of much debate in recent years, but what’s not in dispute is that homes in this west coast city are dramatically over-priced. While Canadian house prices have more than doubled in the last decade, Vancouver’s have more than tripled.
Consider that the average national house price of $373,000 is 5.1 times the annual median family income, while the average Vancouver house price of $815,000 is 11.2 times median family income, according to BMO Capital Markets’ report A Tale of Three Canadian Housing Markets, published June 7.

That means the average house price in Vancouver is 71% more than the average in Toronto.  This growing unaffordability has made Vancouver the third least affordable city in the world, according to a Demographia survey, which looked at 325 markets across the globe.

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US – 48 of 50 States Enjoyed Economic Growth

June 20, 2011

It turns out that the optimists were right. The U.S. economy did expand substantially in 2010 — and no state was more successful than North Dakota. New figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis indicate that 48 of the 50 states enjoyed economic growth last year.

North Dakota registered the sharpest increase in gross state product (GSP), an annual measure of the total output of goods and services. Its GSP soared 7.1 percent last year.  New York was next with an increase of 5.1 percent, pushing its gross state product slightly above $1 trillion for the year. New York joined California ($1.73 trillion) and Texas ($1.11 trillion) as the only states with trillion-dollar economies.

The database at the bottom of this story has the latest GSPs for all 50 states. Figures for 2009 and 2010 have been adjusted to 2005 levels, which allows for direct comparisons without the misleading impact of inflation.

Fourteen states experienced economic growth of 3 percent or more between 2009 and 2010. The typical state posted a GSP increase of 2.6 percent. The only states to decline in 2010 were Nevada and Wyoming, which were down 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Source: BizJournal


US – Biggest Job Growth Rank – Dallas, Huston

June 17, 2011

The Texas twins — Dallas and Houston — continue to set the employment pace for the nation. The two metros have added 134,200 nonfarm jobs in the past 12 months, according to figures released Wednesday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the equivalent of 368 new jobs every day.

Dallas-Fort Worth is No. 1 in the country with an increase of 83,100 nonfarm jobs between April 2010 and the same month this year. Houston is No. 2 with a gain of 51,100. Rounding out the top five are the Chicago (up 37,100 nonfarm jobs), Los Angeles (up 36,200) and Washington (up 25,700) markets.

See the database below for the latest employment numbers for America’s 100 biggest metros.

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US – Big Drops in Tourism Jobs in LA, Seattle and Vegas

June 17, 2011

Tourism jobs are leaving Seattle.  According to new data, the city has lost 9,500 leisure and hospitality related jobs since April 2008, one of the biggest losses in the country.  According to an On Numbers study of U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics data, Seattle has 154,800 leisure and hospitality sector jobs today, down 11.1 percent from 164,300 three years ago. Only seven other U.S. markets have seen bigger drops in the sector.

Seattle’s experience is typical. Two-thirds of the nation’s 100 major markets have fewer jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector today than before the onset of the recession, according to the data.

Leading the way is the New York City area, which has added 19,400 leisure and hospitality jobs since April 2008. Other significant increases have occurred in Boston (up 9,700 leisure and hospitality jobs in three years), Houston (up 7,000), New Orleans (up 6,700), Orlando, Fla. (up 5,900) and Austin, Texas (up 5,100).

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US – Arizona Gained Net 2200 Jobs in May

June 17, 2011

Arizona’s private sector added 5,000 jobs in May, with manufacturing, administrative support and restaurants accounting for the gains, according new state labor numbers.

The state’s unemployment rate went from 9.3 percent in April down to 9.1 percent in May, according to the state Office of Employment and Population Statistics. Arizona’s jobless rate was 10 percent in May 2010, according to the state agency.

The Valley accounted 2,100 of the new jobs in May, while 1,800 new private sector positions were added in Tucson.  Phoenix’s unemployment rate is down to 8 percent from 8.1 percent in April, according OEPS.

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Marcus Millichap – US Forecast Positive

June 6, 2011

Total economic output now exceeds the pre-recession peak, as do retail sales and corporate profits.  More important, recent growth has had more to do with private sector expansion and less government intervention, such as cash for clunkers and the home buyers’ tax credit, which drove the early stages of recovery. Commercial real estate investors have regained confidence with capital continuing its march back into the market so far this year as low interest rates and at least bottoming, if not improving fundamentals, justify a bit more risk tolerance. CRE sales were up 30% during the first quarter of 2011 over the same time last year, and appear to be broadening with more private capital joining institutional buyers, a factor that has dominated the increase in sales since the recovery began.

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Vancouver Housing Fueled by Chinese Buyers

June 6, 2011

The rising price tags on luxury houses on Vancouver’s west side are a sign of China’s expanding wealth as Chinese mainland buyers seek a home for cash in the face of real estate investment curbs at home.  There is no reliable data on how much Chinese money is flowing to Vancouver, but industry watchers say enough has gone into several high-end neighborhoods to skew Canada’s national real estate data.

Local stories abound about cash buyers, who won’t be vulnerable when interest rates rise, and of bids that far exceed the asking price.  “Placing the money is really what they’re doing. They’re parking it, like in a bank,” said Cam Good, president of TheKey.com, which markets Canadian property to Chinese buyers and recently opened its second China office.

Canada weathered the global recession better than many of its peers, helped by steady demand for the commodities it produces, an aggressive stimulus program, and strong, conservative banks that didn’t need government bailouts. The national property market stalled, but did not crash, and prices soon climbed again, with bidding wars for property in many cities. Vancouver is the hottest market.

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