11 May

Residential Market Commentary – Pandemic Predictions


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Longer term outlooks for the housing market are mixed, depending on which indicators are being considered.

The gloomiest projections are coming from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.  The agency expects it will be, at least, the end 2022 – nearly three years from now – before housing prices recover to pre-recession levels.  CMHC head Evan Siddall also points out that the coronavirus pandemic has homeowners struggling to make payments.

“Ten of thousands of Canadians are having trouble meeting their mortgage commitments”, he said.

CMHC estimates 10% of homeowners are deferring their mortgage payments right now.

The agency says the COVID-19 outbreak makes dependable long-term forecasting difficult.  It says variables that used to be known – like employment, income and immigration – have become unknown.

The agency performed a stress test in January based on a pandemic. However, the coronavirus has turned out to be much worse than the scenario that was used.  CMHC is now recalculating its forecasts.

Lenders and realtors have a brighter view.  While sales have plummeted, average prices have remained stable on a year-over-year basis.  A deficit of new listings is offered as the key reason.

Analysis by one of the big banks indicates that the benchmark price for a home has actually increased by about 10%.  It sees that as an indication buying patterns have shifted to lower cost homes.  The same report suggests most markets remain balanced for buyers and sellers, despite the pandemic.


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*3 year fixed @ 2.39%

*4 year fixed @ 2.79%

*5 year fixed @ 2.34%

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6 May

Residential Market Commentary – The new boss. Same as the old boss?


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

The Bank of Canada has a new Governor.  And it could be said that everything old is new again.

Current Governor Stephen Poloz will step down, as scheduled, at the start of next month.  He will be replaced by Tiff Macklem, an old hand at the central bank.

Macklem is currently the dean of the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto, but he has a long history at the Bank of Canada and was the senior deputy governor under Mark Carney.  He was also a deputy to finance minister Jim Flaherty and helped guide Canada through the Global Financial Collapse and the Great Recession.

Macklem’s experience with that crisis appears to have been a key factor in his appointment, as Canada now faces the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Macklem and the Bank of Canada are in a tight spot.  They have run out of room to reduce interest rates and they are spending billions of dollars a week buying government bonds.  Macklem has already expressed his reluctance to see interest rates go negative, calling that move “a new source of disruption”, in an already disrupted financial system.

Given Macklem’s record we can look forward to a more staid, Carney-like, Governor.  (Stephen Poloz has been positively lively compared to many of his predecessors.)  As during the last crisis, the Bank could work to calm markets and investors with more forward guidance.  And, it is unlikely Macklem will tinker with the Bank’s 2% target for inflation, which he helped develop back in 1991