Thursday, January 5, 2012

Aging baby boomers helping change face of Canada's housing market

CMHC Published on December 30, 2011 Published on December 30, 2011 Topics : CMHC , Housing , Multiple Listing Service , Canada , OTTAWA , Vancouver OTTAWA — Demographic changes from aging to immigration flows are helping shape Canada's housing market of the future, the federal housing agency suggests in its annual report. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp.'s study of housing trends sees continued demand for condominium and smaller homes, institutional buildings such as old age facilities, as well as a lively market for renovators. The oldest of the baby boom generation entered retirement age this year, but by 2036, seniors will represent about one quarter of the total population in Canada, the report stresses. That will mean more older households and more headed by single seniors, who will demand a different kind of residence from the two-story detached home they raised families in. Condominiums already accounted for one-third of all starts in urban centres last year, compared with 29 per cent in 2009, but that trend likely will continue, says the CMHC authors. ``Aging households will support continued growth in condominium markets. We can also expect to see growing demand for home adaptations ... (and) the number of seniors in institutions would increase by a factor of almost two and a half,'' the report states. The agency advises that it is not forecasting the future, but extrapolating what could occur based on current trends. Ian Melzer of the CMHC's housing needs policy group said overall Canada's housing market will continue to grow, but likely at a slower pace than the recent boom years. Although Canada's birth rate remains below the replacement rate, the population is increasing faster than at any time since the early 1990s thanks to immigration. Last year, new arrivals swelled to 271,000, the highest in four decades, accounting for two thirds of population growth. Most are moving to Canada's three biggest cities _ Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver _ but less so than in the past. Last year, 63.8 per cent of immigrants landed in the three cities, compared with 72.7 per cent in 2001. As well, home ownership rates, currently about 68 per cent, tend to be higher among seniors, although they will require different kinds of homes, or adaptations to current homes. ``Some will move into smaller detached houses or row houses, some will move into condo apartments,'' Melzer said. He points out that Vancouver is experimenting with units as small as 300 square feet, which may be attractive to single seniors. Seniors tend to stay in their current homes as long as possible, so many will likely choose to adapt their living spaces. ``Typically young seniors are not living in accessible bungalows, so there will be renovations ... installation of ramps or elevators, widening of the front door, bathroom doors. You might get replacement of bathtubs,'' he explained. Another option is extensions to existing homes where seniors can live with their children. The 184-page ``Canadian Household Observer 2011'' contains a number of surprising elements, although most of the report is based on previously-released data. Among the findings: _ Housing and related spending rose 7.1 per cent last year and now accounts for 20.3 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product output, or about $330 billion; _ Super-low interest rates, coupled with a small inventory of existing homes for sale, helped push the average Multiple Listing Service price up by 5.8 per cent in 2010 to $339,042; _ In 2006, only 35.3 per cent of recent immigrants (since 2001) owned their homes, compared to 68.7 per cent for non-immigrants. The CMHC notes, however, that home ownership among immigrants increases with their duration in the country. _ About 13 per cent of Canadians cannot afford a home in the area they live, a measure CMHC calls ``core housing need.'' Provincially, core housing need was highest in Newfoundland at 16.7 per cent, followed by Ontario and Nova Scotia at 15.1 per cent of households. Among cities, Toronto leads in core needs at 17.2 per cent, followed by Vancouver and Halifax at 16 per cent. Still, the agency notes that 87 per cent of Canadian households ``either live in, or had sufficient income to access, acceptable housing'' in 2008. The Bank of Canada and many economists have raised concerns about the level of debt, with household debt hitting a record 153 per cent greater than disposable income in the fall of 2011. The central bank said some households could be put under pressure when interest rates rise. But the CMHC notes that 68 per cent of that debt is in mortgages and that most households can afford the costs associated with home ownership. While household debt is a serious issue, the agency argues that a major shock to employment would constitute a much greater risk to Canadians' ability to make mortgage payments than rising interest rates. ``Most Canadian households have the capacity to deal with adverse economic conditions, due to the high quality of mortgage credit in Canada, the substantial equity position of most Canadian homeowners with a mortgage, and households' ability to adapt their discretionary spending,'' the report concluded.

CMHC’s 2011 Canadian Housing Observer

CMHC's 2011 Canadian Housing Observer is out. It’s stuffed with mortgage and housing stats, although most are from 2010 so it’s not as current as we’d hope. Here are some of its mortgage-related highlights (our comments in italics)… •Mortgages comprise 68% of Canadians' total debt. (Interestingly, this is down from the peak of 75% in 1993—even though home prices have risen 137% since then. Canadians have obviously racked up debt in many other ways.) •Housing-related spending was more than 1/5 of Canada's gross domestic product in 2010, or about $330 billion. (If demand for housing drops materially, or government policies somehow derail the market, Canadians will quickly feel the economic pain.) •Lenders are using deposits less as a source of mortgage funding. 71.2% of mortgage funds came from deposits in 2006. That’s dropped to 58.9% as of CMHC’s latest data from 14 months ago. (This decrease has been offset by greater securitization, which lenders relied on for 27% of mortgages in 2010. That said, deposits “remain the cheapest” source of mortgage funding, says CMHC.) •Canada’s Big 6 banks held ~55% of total mortgage credit outstanding. (That’s down from 64% in 2002.) •Residential mortgages comprise 20% of total bank assets in Canada. •Seniors will account for 24% of Canada’s population by 2036, say forecasts. That’s up from about 14% now. (The greying population will clearly boost demand for senior housing, but also have implications for the demand on affordable private housing and condos. To the extent that those aged 65+ will downsize, a burgeoning seniors population could also put more detached single-family homes on the market.) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Trivia question: Which part of Canada had the highest average rents for a 2-bedroom apartment in 2010? If you’re thinking Vancouver, you’re close. It’s # 3 at $1,195 per month, according to survey data.* Toronto? Nope. It’s # 4 at $1,123 per month. According to CMHC's report, the most expensive rental market in Canada was Iqaluit, Nunavut at $2,365 per month. Seems they have a “slight” housing supply problem up there. Yellowknife was the second priciest at $1,486 per month. * This data is based on a survey in CMHC's 2011 Canadian Housing Observer and does not include all cities in Canada. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rob McLister, CMT

Lenders used 55% of fed mortgage support

... . . . Related Content. . .. Condos have come to dominate the downtown Toronto skyline. .. . . Buzzworthy Today . . . . The Google CEO's powerful inner circle.. . Defend your data: 5 online security don'ts.. . What your Starbucks habit really costs you.. . Is it up to Kim Kardashian to save Sears?.. . Which nation's businesspeople are most corrupt?.. . How a monkish Apple engineer became a billionaire.. ... . . Canadian mortgage lenders took up just over half of the backup money the federal government made available during the recession, a new report says. Ottawa launched the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program in 2008 to buy government-backed mortgages from banks, insurance companies and other lenders so they could go on making loans to homebuyers and offset the impact of the recession. Initially set at $25 billion, it was boosted twice, to $125 billion. But only $69 billion or 55 per cent was drawn down under the program, Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. said in a report released Thursday. CMHC, a federal agency, ran the program. The limited use of the money may have been because there was no shortage of cash available to lenders to re-loan to home buyers, the government suggested in 2010. The purchase of the mortgages did not affect the deficit because the government had an offsetting assets, the bundles of mortgages it bought, the Department of Finance said. The mortgages were already backed by the government through CMHC, so there was no additional risk. The sellers went through a competitive process to ensure the rate of return on the purchased mortgages was higher than the government's cost of borrowing. There would be no cost to taxpayers because "the IMPP will earn a modest rate of return for the government with no additional risk," the Finance website said. "The program was instrumental in safeguarding Canada’s economy during a time of severe economic stress," CMHC said in its report, the Canadian Housing Observer. Now, however, the fear is that the Canadian housing market is in danger of becoming a bubble that could collapse if the European crisis gets really bad. And from expanding the mortgage market, the government has taken steps to tighten the market. Based on 2010 data, the CMHC report says housing-related spending accounted for more than a fifth of Canada's gross domestic product, or about $330 billion in 2010, up 7.1 per cent from $308 billion in 2009. The report also looks at impact of seniors on the housing market as their share of the population is forecast to rise to almost 24 per cent in by 2036 from about 14 per cent, and the increasing role of condominiums in the market. Condominiums accounted for nearly one-third of urban housing starts in 2010, up from 29 per cent in 2009 and 25 per cent in 2001, the report said. "Over half of all starts in Vancouver, 48 per cent in Montreal and 45 per cent in Toronto were intended for condominium tenure," it said

Sandi Lee Featured Red Cross Volunteer

Red Cross Featured Volunteer: Sandi Lee Special Points of Interest: • Featured Volunteer: Sandi Lee • Red Cross Holiday Office Gathering • Mental Health: ERT Meeting, Tuesday January 10th • Masters in Disaster & Emergency Management NOVA SCOTIA REGION CENTRAL DISTRICT VOLUME 1, I S SUE 2 DECEMBER 2011 Rapid response is an essential quality in Disaster Management and if you want to see just how rapid a person can be, have a look at the life of Sandi Lee. Sandi's typical week sees her parenting her three young children with husband Pat in their Fall River home, building her new career as a real estate agent with Century 21 A.B.C. Realty and on weekends helping her clients at Kara's Urban Hair & Day Spa. Originally from Vancouver, Sandi loves Nova Scotia because of its natural beauty and the warmth of the people. "I love being around people and Nova Scotians are such welcoming folks," says Sandi. Whether it's styling hair or helping people find a new home or assisting in times of trouble with the Red Cross, you learn so much by connecting with people. It's very fulfilling." In a way, Sandi's journey from West to East has brought her career fullcircle. Before opening a hair salon with her sister in Vancouver, Sandi worked for several years as a Legal assistant in a busy real estate development law firm. "I've always loved the energy of new construction because you are helping shape not only a family's future home, but the future of the community itself and I find that very gratifying." Family, home, friends and community are all essential qualities in the busy life of Sandi Lee, our Volunteer of the Month.