April 10, 2022
“An economist is a gentle man,
with neither sword nor pistol.
He walks along most daintily,
because his balls are crystal.”
Mike Lynch, MIT
- OZZIE’S TAKE ON THE 2022 BUDGET – EYEBROWS RAISED STRAIGHT BACK
- HUGE NEW ASSIGNMENT TAX, FLIPPING, FOREIGN BUYERS’ CHANGES
- THIS NEWS WILL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF: NO MORE RS-1 ZONING IN VANCOUVER
- INFLATION TO STAY FOR YEARS
- CAN ALL DEVELOPERS COMPLETE?
- ASTOUNDING: NEW LISTINGS LOWER AGAINST 2021 BUT NOT AGAINST PREVIOUS 4 YEARS
- EXPECT LISTINGS TO CONTINUE TO INCREASE
- SF SALES PLUMMET IN VANCOUVER AND THE VALLEY
- NUMBERS: MARCH 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019
- US DOLLAR NEARING ALL TIME HIGH – AS OZBUZZ FORECAST
- US POT IS LEGAL
- PHOENIX STATS
- CANADIAN DOLLAR OUTLOOK
- INTEREST RATE FORECAST
- QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS
- SONG/MUSIC OF THE MONTH – SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT
- BINGEWORTHY TV SHOWS
- SILLY CORNER
INFLATION REMAINS THE HOTTEST TOPIC
If I measure my blog by the replies/questions/comments I get and on which subject…it is clearly the hot subject of ‘wither inflation?’ Also, my statement on having forecast this ‘monetary inflation’ for twenty plus years was challenged. To them I say:
“Well, go buy my books.” Unlike a lot of forecasters that now are ‘Inflation Johnny come lately,’ I have been quoting Milton Friedman in 4 books and over 60 Newsletter issues plus a slide has been on every presentation several times every year since 1998. So, there!
More annoying are statements like: “your view of several kinds of inflation at the same time are simplistic and not facts.”
I guess you mean that we cannot have money printing resulting in higher asset prices (like real estate) at the same time as a commodity price inflation or deflation? Well, we can and did. Commodity price in/deflation is an economic issue (world buys our oil, commodities or not), the other a monetary issue. Different thing.
For example from 2016-2018 we had monetary inflation (asset price rising) and at the same time economic (commodities) deflation. Today we have both.
Milton Friedman: “Inflation is the result of an increase in the quantity of money and debt within an economy. Inflation is primarily a monetary phenomenon.”
Finally, “inflation is mostly in North America.” Nonsense, there is no greater proof than the current worldwide soaring inflation is a result of worldwide massive printing. All governments are printing money like never before and ALL COUNTRIES have massive inflation…no matter what interest rates (negative and positive) or the economic situations they find themselves in.
Eurozone inflation is now at absolute record highs! The ECB has had a loose easy monetary policy for years…now the chickens are – well – roosting. Outcome? All banks will turn hawkish, rates will be much higher, much faster…and a recession is possible…worldwide.
Major Point: In several past issues I mused that the surprise would be on the high side of rates.
Also, ‘transitory inflationist’ assume that inflation will go back to 2% quickly. Nonsense, it may go back there, but not for years! Finally, I don’t know what you are smoking, back to 2% by year-end? Ha-ha…It will take years! Years! In fact, rent and wages will go up permanently just to catch up to the current 5.2% inflation.
BUDGET 2022 HOUSING INITIATIVES
- A new 2-year ban of no foreign buying that includes condos, apartments, and single residential units. (Exempt are recreational units.)
Loopholes? As always there are a few: The ban does not apply to foreign students, permanent residents, foreign workers, or foreigners who are purchasing their primary residence in Canada. Also, recreational properties are exempt. I am not sure whether Whistler qualifies as recreational?Ozzie’s Major Points:
- B.C. has had a foreign buyer tax for 4 years (20 whopping percent) as well as a speculation and vacancy tax. It did not dampen demand, in fact demand increased so dramatically, prices in some suburbs have grown by 50 per cent over the past two years. Ontario followed suit by creating a 15% tax, which this week increased to 20% plus expands it beyond Toronto to the entire province.
- In fact, Canada-wide home prices escalated with no foreign money. Our problem is made-in-Canada. Actually, foreign buyers constituted less than 1% – Bullpenn Research think tank.
- This will be a detriment to government coffers in that the banned buyers will also not pay that 20% tax anymore! They are not allowed to buy!
- Higher taxes for people who sell their home within a year – gain will be treated as business income. Taxes apply to all sales after January 1, 2023.
- Starting May 7, the government will add taxes on home flippers who buy properties to renovate and put them back on the market less than 12 months later. Who will want to renovate now? Loopholes: Looks like multiple exceptions again for permanent residents, foreign students, etc.
- All assignment sales on newly constructed or substantially renovated residential homes will be taxable.
- “Budget 2022 proposes to make all assignment sales of newly constructed or substantially renovated residential housing taxable for GST/HST purposes, effective May 7, 2022.”
- A new savings account Canadians under the age of 40 can save as much as $40,000 for a home down payment within a new tax-exempt vehicle at $8,000 per year.
- It’s tax free going in and out. But by the time it is saved, it does not make a dent in DP.
- If it did work it would actually add pressure on the housing stock.
- Only people that have extra $8000 a year could use it. No low-income person would.
- Changes to the first-time home buyers tax credit from $5000 to $10,000 will result in $1,500 tax savings.
- Creating new housing initiative:
Plans to set aside $4 billion over the next five years to develop 100,000 net new housing units through the launch of a new Housing Accelerator fund. (What happened to the 2017 10-year plan? Now 5 years old w/o anything happening!)
- No details: The budget also set aside $1.5 billion over two years to create 6,000 new affordable units with at least 25 per cent of the funding directed towards women-focused housing projects.
- No details: Money for co-op housing initiatives. $1.5 billion in loans and funding towards a national co-op housing strategy that hopes to develop 6,000 units.
- No details: Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights, setting aside $5 million in funding over two years, ensuring a legal right to a home inspection and an end to blind bidding to promote transparency.
- No details: 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.
- No details: 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, along with $200 million over the same timeline for building retrofits in large development projects.
- The budget also announces an extension of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, which acts as a shared-equity mortgage. This very unsuccessful program is extended to March 31, 2025.
- On ‘affordable housing,’ the government is proposing to distribute $4 billion over the next five years to the CMHC to launch a new Housing Accelerator Fund. The goal is to create 100,000 net new housing units. The CMHC will receive another $1.5 billion over two years to extend the Rapid Housing Initiative. This is expected to create at least 6,000 new housing units.
Major Point: No Federal or Provincial government build houses. It needs municipal initiative – or best lock representatives of all three levels of government in a room. If no solution, all participants will be shot.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: The government’s pre-announced efforts to implement a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights, to end blind bidding and ensure better transparency of sales history, will get a $5 million cash infusion over two years.
With commodity prices cooling we continue to expect a lower Canadian dollar.
In several Oz buzz blogs I asked you to watch the 10-year rate for several reasons; 1. if it inverts with the 2-year rate it foretells a recession and 2. rates over 2% will affect our long term mortgage rates dramatically.
Now, the ten-year treasury yield has jumped from 1.7% a month ago to 2.7%, a three-year high. With inflation remaining high – more increases and higher are coming.
The 30-year mortgage rate doubled to over 5% – first time since 2011. Last year’s low was 2.65%!
The 5-year fixed mortgage is available all around the 4%+ mark. RBC stands at 3.94%, TD at 3.89%, Scotia at 3.99%. Add to this the stress test of 2% – qualifying starts at around 6% and more.
Prediction: Like the US the next increase (next week) will be .50% (to 3.2%). The market is cooling already (sales not prices).
US REAL ESTATE
6.02 million used home sales in the US in February were 6.8% below last year’s level. Pending sales are down as well, between 4% and 7% depending on state. Cracks are appearing in many markets…like California and New Jersey. But remain hot in places lie Texas, Arizona and Nevada. We always have and likely always will like Phoenix, Austin, Houston, and Las Vegas.
US APPROVES OF MARIHUANA
In several newsletters of yesteryear (3 years) I discussed the opportunity to buy warehouses, hot houses in states that had legalized pot. Now that the whole US is legalized…be very, very careful. There will be tremendous competition. The legalization of pot in Canada – with accompanying new laws – has not been the stock market nirvana that was projected.
Major Point: Why legal now? Let us get the country high, they will forget about inflation!
I sound like a broken record, but the dollar is higher again, as we over and over predicted for 2 years. In fact, the US dollar rallied to a two-year high (rising rates accelerating and inflation persistent.) Again, I am not a currency analyst! However, I stated over and over that in tough times, bad money wants to be changed into ‘good ‘money.’ The US dollar remains a reserve currency – valued as such by individuals around the world. In tough times they flee into the dollar. More money coming in drives up the value. Period. We see that continue.
SHANNON CUNNINGHAM – ACE REALTOR PHOENIX
We have azperformanceplus as our realtor ins Phoenix for years. Here is their latest Statistical report: Arizona (Phoenix) report.
SHOCKING NEWS: 100,000 PEOPLE CAME TO BC IN 2021
Statistics Canada show a net total of 100,797 people moved to the province in 2021, most since 1961. WOW! 33,656 people — arrived from other provinces or territories. That was the highest in-country migration since 1994. Highest in Canada in 2021, when 67,141 people came from abroad, the second-highest international immigration rate on record.
Major Point: We are used to 36,000 or so foreign inward migration into BC and predicted (talked about) seeing 50,000, but 67,000? Plus, the rest of Canada 36,000? Again: WOW!
Major Additional Point: The Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation says B.C. is leading Canada’s economic recovery from the pandemic, with 84,000 more people working in the province prior to COVID-19 — a job recovery rate of 103.2 per cent!
THIS NEWS WILL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!
In the last three years the City of Vancouver stalled most development plans. Developers were told there was a new citywide plan in the works: VANCOUVER PLAN 2050. I have just read the 11-million-dollar draft plan (which must be voted on by council) and are you sitting down?
The zoning called RS-1 no longer exists…Yes, you can still build a SF house, but your neighbour now can put a multiplex/Highrise next door…The lowest zoning density in the future will be a multiplex. Now like all ‘visionaries’ the planners at the city have created a beautiful large document outlining the future as they see it for us. But …alas short on specifics. Read and enjoy or weep – depending on your Mojo.
(DRAFT!) Vancouver City plan 2050
ASK: CONSTRUCTION COSTS ARE SOARING – WILL ALL DEVELOPERES SURVIVE?
Developers that fixed their costs for lumber and rebar etc. already 2 years ago, will find it easier but will still see costs rising at 1% – 1.5% per month. Developers without fixed costs, however, will have a hard time to survive as profits and loans get eaten away by soaring costs.
Major Point: Some developments are possibly in trouble now: Richmond’s “Atmosphere” was supposed to have more than 800 housing units, but its construction has been stalled for a year. Read details here
COMMENTS, QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: MY BUILDING PERMIT FOR A LANEWAY HOUSE COST $65,000! THAT IS CRAZY!
A: Agreed. Add the cost of construction, add the fact you lose your backyard. Add to that you will lose the percentage that the Laneway house occupies as residential capital gain exemption. PLUS (new): If the city adopts the new zoning bylaws, values on your VACANT lot will increase higher than the Laneway house would.
Qs: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BUYERS USED AGAINST THEM
Lots of replies (22) to this one. Some very unfavourable to realtors, some to me (huh?), some resented the comments “all go into this with eyes wide open.”
A: Like it or not. It is a sign of the times: Today’s buyer is sophisticated, he/she researches and if he sees a lower priced unit then what he/she understands the value to be – he/she rushes out! Yes, the realtor is staging the event (specific day of viewing, specific offer day). I have seen – time and again – 2 suites for sale. One listed at the correct indicated value of $580,000 and one “underlisted” at $525,000. No offers, not even a call on the $580,000 listing, but 12 viewings and 6 offers at the $525,000 listing. Sold for? $615,000.
Like it or not.
Actually, it also may be a sign of the end of the madness. Price fatigue, higher rates… buyers realizing that there are unsold units on the market.
Q: IN YOUR ZOOM SPEECH ON FEBRUARY 24 YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU HAVE OVER 6000 PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU ON TWITTER. I FOUND YOU HAVE ONLY A FEW. WHAT?
A: Interesting that this is the only thing you got that from my ‘oh so brilliant’ speech. But here goes: My twitter handle still is https://twitter.com/77ozzie. When the SM world started, I put all my “handles” on Facebook, Twitter, Blip.fm, YouTube as 77Ozzie.
Why? My special/lucky number is the number 7 so I used it as often as I could:
In my phone number I have 5 x sevens etc., etc.
- Ergo: Twitter: 77Ozzie – 6,421 followers. Blip.FM: 77Ozzie – 15,283 listeners.
- YouTube channels. Yes, there are other Oswald Jurock channels. The reason is that Google does not let me merge old accounts. On YouTube for instance, I have 1,444 subscribers and over 200,000 page views at Oz Jurock Video but people get directed to Oswald Jurock (nothing there) – because google will not let me merge the two accounts- no matter what I do. So, I have one YouTube account with 20 years of videos (over 200,000 views) and the other with near nothing. Yet, that one (ozjurock) Google sees as my main handle. Arrrgh!
So, if you want to see me on YouTube: Youtube.com/jurockvideo (Thanks for clicking.)
Q: CANNOT FIND YOUR LIFESTREAM. ARE YOU ANSWERING LIVE QUESTIONS?
A: You must subscribe on my channel, you must “thumbs up” my stuff and you must hit the “bell’ button. if you hit the bell, you get an invite…usually for Tuesday nights.
Q: OK FROM YOUR COMMENTS I GET THAT THE MARKET IS COOLING?
A: Lots of comments regarding my “The high is in place”… again. Constantly (dear) subscribers point out to lower amounts of new listings as an important argument against my stance. OK, but look below, new listings are indeed below last year. But SF listings are actually over 600 higher in Vancouver than 2019 (900 higher than 2020) and condos higher by 1,000, ditto in Fraser Valley.
Major Point: Yes, the new 100,000 incoming migration (a new Black Swan) has to be digested and it may well drive us a while longer.
Q: OZZIE – OK YOU DON’T DO STOCKS. BUT WHAT ABOUT STOCKS AND INFLATION?
A: Well, not me, but BofA Securities U.S. quantitative strategist Savita Subramanian’s quarterly S&P 500 Relative Value Cheat Sheet states that history says sustained price increases means stock prices are going lower. A lot lower. In fact, their chart that shows price to earnings (PE) relative to inflation growth is eyebrow popping. Using PE ratios and the U.S. consumer price index data since 1965, Ms. Subramanian estimated that the current S&P 500 PE ratio is 70 per cent higher than history says it should be.
Ms. Subramanian says that many factors make up the puzzle. She sees flat markets until the end of the year with strong cash flow and stock price appreciation in the energy sector offset by falling profit expectations in consumer spending-related stocks. But the longer inflation pressures continue, the more likely a painful correction becomes. Read her release for additional recommendations in health care and pharmatheuticals.
Me? Firmly on the sidelines. I am exploring FTAs. Watch for the upcoming Metaverse in RE.
BOOKS OF THE MONTH
Q: I LIKE THE FENG SHUI BOOK. THE MASTER LIVES IN VANCOUVER. DO YOU THINK COULD I BOOK HIM?
A: Call him.
From JokEc: Man walking along a road in the countryside comes across a shepherd and a huge flock of sheep. Tells the shepherd, “I will bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock.” The shepherd thinks it over; it’s a big flock so he takes the bet. “973,” says the man. The shepherd is astonished because that is exactly right. Says “OK, I’m a man of my word, take an animal.” Man picks one up and begins to walk away.
“Wait,” cries the shepherd, “Let me have a chance to get even. Double or nothing that I can guess your exact occupation.” Man says sure.
“You are an economist for a government think tank,” says the shepherd.
“Amazing!” responds the man, “You are exactly right! But tell me, how did you deduce that?”
“Well,” says the shepherd, “put down my dog and I will tell you.”
NEWEST SMALL CONDO INNOVATION
BINGEWORTHY TV SHOWS
Netflix: 2 seasons “TRAPPED”
Netflix: “QUEEN OF THE SOUTH” IS BACK!
Amazon: “RIVER” wish there were more
SONG/MUSIC OF THE WEEK
Comments: Quite a surprise. I forced myself to listen. Could not believe I had not listened before. You are recommending the German conductor. Didn’t see your recommended piece?
Yes, we mentioned the fabulous Klaus Tennstedt and did not get to post the links. Here is the best Rienzi overture directed by Klaus Tennstedt with the London philharmonic (played in Tokyo) … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2jjnb45d34
Great overtures that he also directed were Tannhäuser and Siegfried’s death march.
Other Comment: I also like Verdi’s Nabucco and Aidi.
A: Indeed, very famous Operas. While you could argue that the march of the slaves in Nabucco is really a series of military marches, its haunting chorus of the Hebrew slaves stays with you for days. My wife and I actually took a train from Toronto to Montreal to the bombastic staged version of AIDA with herds of horses, elephants, and camels…Unforgettable.
RANTS OF THE WEEK AND THE REVENGE
The ‘revenge of the little man’ means that what are you to do when some powerful individual or corporation does something to annoy you. You take revenge (even though they don’t know. You do!) Share your annoyances and the revenge you took.
Ha-ha, lots of comments on the ‘clickbait.’ An honest one: Can’t help myself headlines grab me on YouTube all the time. Even if I know it’s a ridiculous premise, I click on it. I’ll do better in future.
And I discontinued Apple, since they flash the headlines and then when you want to read it, you must buy the paper.
Comment: “I really dislike the distortion of history. Black English queens, or worse, black Viking women leaders. These ‘Period pieces’ are not history. What revenge do you recommend?”
A: I assume you mean Netflix (or?) movies. The revenge, my dear reader, is entirely yours. Stop watching shows you don’t like.
Q: YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE MORE DETAILS ON METAVERSE REAL ESTATE AND NFTs. DID I MISS IT?
A: Sorry, no you did not miss it. I did. Next issue for sure.
Remember to take the 2020 comparisons with a grain of COVID salt!
SF: The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports SF sales of 1,308 in March 2022, a 34% decrease from the 1,972 sales recorded in March 2021. Still, last month’s sales were second best in the 10-year March sales average. Best? 2016 with 2,150 SF sales
CONDO: The REBGV reports condo sales of 2,313 in March 2022, a 15% decrease from the 2,696 sales recorded in March 2021. Still, last month’s sales were second best in the 10-year March sales average. Best? 2021 with 2,696 condo sales.
- SF active listings were 16 % lower than the last 3 years
- Condo active listings however, while down over last year were up sharply over 2020 and 2019
- SF home sales were 18% lower last February over 2021 and now they were 34% lower over March 2021
- SF home prices were 22% higher in February (over February 2021), March clocked in 16% higher (over March 2021). Ditto for condos.
- New listings for SF were 29% lower than March 2021, but keep your shorts on: They were 26% higher than 2019
- Same for Condo new listings down 7% to 3,270 but 34% higher than 2020 and 30% higher than 2019
- Prices however are solidly higher by 16% across all: SF and condos.
- Vancouver Major Point
Note: New Condo listings higher – way more than December’s 1,060!
Fraser Valley – SF
SF: The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board reports SF sales of 1,032 in March 2022, a 33% decrease from the 1,547 sales recorded in March 2021. Still, last month’s sales were second best in the 10-year March sales average. Best? 2016 with 1,715SF sales
CONDO: The FVREB reports condo sales of 803 in March 2022, a 1% decrease from the 810 sales recorded in March 2021. Still, last month’s sales were second best in the 10-year March sales average. Best? 2021 with 810 condo sales.
Fraser Valley Major Point:
- February SF sales were down a whopping 37%; in March they are still down 33%
- Condominium sales that were down 22% in February are now about even with March 2021!
- SF Prices are still up by 26% but $100,000 down over February’s $1.8 million
- SF New listings are 22% lower but still 45% higher than 2019!
- Condominium new listings clock in about even with 2021 but up by 33% plus over 2019
MAJOR, MAJOR POINT: The market remains very tight. But it is shifting. As we said last month: The HIGH may be in place! New listings are clocking in much higher and sales sharply lower throughout the Valley. Still… sales are still much higher than 2020 and 2019.
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Your thoughts – AS ALWAYS – are most welcome
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