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Posts tagged ‘economy’

Bank Of Canada Raises Interest Rate to 0.5% At June 2010 Meeting

Only one direction to go!

This morning at its June 1, 2010 meeting, the Bank of Canada raised its key overnight lending rate (the rate at which it lends funds to chartered banks) one-quarter per cent (25 basis points) to 0.5%, its first rate hike in almost three years.

What can we expect? Banks will be increasing their prime lending rates. This is the rate upon which variable-rate mortgages are based, as well as other borrowing products such as personal loans, and some credit cards. The quarter-per cent hike translates into about $12 more per $100,000 of borrowed funds.

One thing to consider if you’re going to be renewing your mortgage or taking out a new mortgage when you buy, is that the lender discount from prime rate has been increasing (best I’ve heard is prime -0.6% lately), which may help make up for this first rate hike. Talk to an experienced mortgage broker and see what your options are.

The Bank of Canada’s move to increase rates comes amid a shaky worldwide recovery and only time will tell if more rate hikes will be necessary.

Bottom line: don’t panic. Rates are still historically low and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. Mortgage rates have been on a generally downward trend for about 30 years.

The full Bank of Canada news release can be found here.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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New Waterfront Hotel, Convention Centre, Public Marina Coming Soon To Sooke

sookeprestigelogosmall

What a difference a good council can make. Since being elected last November, the new Sooke Municipal Council has been busy. They’ve arranged for several provincial government grants for public projects, installed nearly three kilometres of new sidewalks, pushed ahead with plans for downtown revitalization, and now, finally, Sooke is going to get its hotel.

Sooke has long been known for its fabulous bed and breakfast facilities, and the Sooke Harbour House, a world-famous high-end seaside inn, but has always lacked a modern, middle-of-the-road hotel for everyday tourists. That’s all going to change.

Last year, three waterfront parcels along West Coast Road just before Whiffen Spit were put up for sale. The District of Sooke bought one, and the other two were acquired by Prestige Hotels. The District and Prestige have proposed an agreement to build a 122-room hotel, with a 400-person convention centre, full service marina, gym, spa, pool, lounge and restaurant and two ‘bistro-style’ eateries. Construction could start as early as this fall. The District will agree to build a public boat launch and pier on their property, and will pay Prestige $300,000 for five years, which will entitle the District to 12 rent-free days per month in the convention centre, for a total of nearly two years of free usage for the District.

A similar deal was reached in the community of Salmon Arm. District representatives traveled there last year to meet with Prestige representatives and talk to local politicians. While the idea of paying the hotel company was controversial at the time, it has worked out very well for Salmon Arm. Conventions and tourists are coming to town, and the building of the hotel attracted another new hotel to build in the area, and caused another one to undertake a major renovation.

As I see it it, there is no downside to this. A major commercial operation like this hotel will generate a lot of revenue for the District in property taxes, not to mention the ability to host conferences and conventions, weddings, tournaments, and all other events that will generate spending in our town. It takes a lot of people to build a hotel – the jobs will be welcome as residential construction has slowed in the past year. After the hotel is built, there will be jobs for people to work there. Finally, there will be a publicly-owned boat launch in the centre of Sooke and another marina right next to the mouth of the harbour. The fitness facility will be open to public membership, and the convention centre will be available free of charge to community and non-profit groups.

More details can be found in this article from the  Sooke News Mirror. Sooke’s council has accomplished much in their first ten months. They should be applauded for taking the initiative to attract this deal rather than waiting around for some hotel company to eventually find their way out the winding Sooke Road.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Bank Of Canada Cuts Interest Rate to 0.25% At April 2009 Meeting

Snip!

Snip!

To the surprise of many analysts, this morning at its April 21, 2009 meeting, the Bank of Canada cut its key overnight lending rate (the rate at which it lends funds to chartered banks) another half-percent to 0.25%, continuing the trend of historic low rates in an effort to stimulate the economy. Since December 2007, the Bank has trimmed 4.25% off its overnight lending rate, which has had the effect of lowering mortgage rates (especially variable rate mortgages).

Two of Canada’s chartered banks were quick to match the rate cut, trimming prime to 2.25% – a good sign that credit is available and our banks are ready to lend. This should translate into lower variable-rate mortgage products in the coming weeks. If you’re already on a variable-rate mortgage tied to the prime rate, then you’ll get a letter from your financial institution soon, advising you of the change. If you’re lucky enough to have a prime rate -0.85% mortgage, this means that with bank prime being at 2.25%, you’ll be paying a paltry 1.40% on your variable rate mortgage. That’s almost free.

The Bank predicts that fiscal and financial stimulus measures initiated by governments and central banks worldwide have been slower than expected to take hold, and will be holding the 0.25% rate until the end of the second quarter of 2010, barring unforeseen circumstances. All this means that recovery of our economy is going to take longer, starting late next year, with the economy reaching full capacity in 2011.

The full Bank of Canada news release can be found here.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Bank Of Canada Cuts Interest Rate to 0.5% At March 2009 Meeting

Scissors

Big scissors for a big job!

UPDATE: CLICK FOR THE APRIL 21st, 2009 INTEREST RATE ANNOUNCEMENT

This morning at its March 3, 2009 meeting, the Bank of Canada cut its key overnight lending rate (the rate at which it lends funds to chartered banks) another half-percent to 0.5%, continuing the trend of historic low rates in an effort to stimulate the economy.

Canada’s big five banks were quick to match the rate cut, trimming prime to 2.5% – a good sign that credit is available and our banks are ready to lend. This should translate into lower variable-rate mortgage products in the coming weeks. If you’re already on a variable-rate mortgage tied to the prime rate, then you’ll get a letter from your financial institution soon, advising you of the change. If you’re lucky enough to have a prime rate -0.85% mortgage, this means that with bank prime being at 2.5%, you’ll be paying a paltry 1.65% on your variable rate mortgage. That’s almost free.

The Bank predicts that fiscal and financial stimulus measures should start to take hold later this year and into next to help the economy recover, and hints that rates will remain at this level or may decrease further until excess supply in the economy is taken up.

The full Bank of Canada news release can be found here.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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The Crisis Of Credit Visualized

Below is an excellent video (RSS and e-mail Readers may need to click through to view it) outlining how the global economic downturn got started with the credit crisis in the U.S. If you’ve heard the term sub-prime and aren’t exactly sure what that’s all about, this video does a great job explaining it.

Bear in mind that this is U.S. focused, but it’s a very informative look at how this mess all started. It will also help you understand why Canada’s banks are in good shape: they avoided much of the financial instruments mentioned in the video, and our conservative banking practices and tighter regulations prevented them from getting over-leveraged, and from giving money to people who shouldn’t have qualified.


The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Bank of Canada Cuts Interest Rate To Lowest Rate In History At January Meeting

SNIP!

SNIP!

Hello Google Searchers! A post about the March 3, 2009 announcement can be found here!

This morning, the Bank of Canada lowered its key overnight lending rate (the rate at which it lends funds to Canada’s commercial banks) to 1%, slashing it a further 0.5% and taking to 3.5% the total amount shaved off the key overnight rate since the current trend of trimming it started last year.

The Bank believes that the Canadian economy will contract 1.2% this year and we will experience two quarters of deflation and expects the economy will start to turn around in 2010, with a healthy growth of 3.8% as changes to policy take hold. The Bank also noted that the lower Canadian dollar will make Canadian commodities cheaper to other countries.

Because the Bank doesn’t foresee core inflation returning to its target 2% until 2011, you can expect interest rates to remain low for all of this year and next.

Canada’s big banks have already indicated that they would be matching the full 0.5% rate cut, trimming their prime rates to 3%. I believe this is a good sign that the availability of credit has loosened up somewhat. In recent months, when the Bank of Canada has made a cut to interest rates, the big banks have been hesitant to match the cut in their prime consumer lending rates, opting to keep the savings to themselves to offset higher credit costs.

As a result, anybody on a variable rate mortgage is now saving more money, and anyone shopping for a new mortgage just increased their buying power. With inventory on the MLS starting to ramp up, this combination is great if you’ve been thinking about buying.

The full Bank of Canada news release can be found here.

For more information and sound advice on real estate in Victoria and Sooke, please contact me.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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BC and Vancouver Island Recessions, Potholes, Flooding, Gas Prices, And Other Things Amiss

storm_clouds_over_swifts_creek

What the hell? I leave the Island for 10 days and it falls apart on me?

I got back on late Sunday night from a week in Mexico to attend my cousin’s wedding and generally unplug from the world for awhile. On that note, an all-inclusive resort with 40 friends and family and really expensive internet connections is a great stress reliever. Before that I spent a couple days on the mainland with (different) friends and (same) family to ring in the new year (kinda lame) and go skating at Richmond’s fabulous new Olympic Speedskating Oval (totally sweet).

flood

So, being unplugged for a week (well, that and not being geographically co-located with the weather system) caused me to miss most of the weather chaos. It would suck to live in Port Renfrew about now, what with the main highway being washed out and all. Sooke Road (aka Provincial Highway 14), for those not in the know, is a complete disaster all the way along. Sooke Potholes no longer refers to the swimming hole on the Sooke River, but I bet there are some on the road big enough to swim in. I managed to ruin a perfectly good rim and tire on my car by hitting a huge one on Tuesday evening. Mainroad Contracting is going to get a nice letter.

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Tonight, the kind folks from the Provincial Emergency Program were at the Sooke Council Chambers to offer information and applications to residents who suffered uninsured damage to their homes during 6-8 January, 2009.

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Can somebody please explain to me why gas prices have increased by $0.15 while oil prices have decreased to below $40/bbl again? Somebody is gouging, I don’t care what they say.

Last night I attended, with the other directors of the Victoria Real Estate Board, the Canadian Home Builders Association Crystal Ball event, which featured several economists and our Board President, Chris Markham, giving their outlook on the economy and the housing markets for 2009. It was a good event, but obviously a heavy topic. I can’t imagine too many home builders that are thrilled about the recent slowdown in real estate sales.

Über-pessimist economist David Hobden of Central 1 Credit Union gave a grim forecast for 2009 (and 2010 somewhat), stating that the Island and Coast region are already in recession, and will remain so. He forecasts housing value to drop by 10 per cent in 2009. Hobden appeared to want to be anywhere but in that room last night, and his body language screamed doom, gloom, and defeat – it was painful to watch.

Jock Finlayson, BC Business Council executive vice president of policy was slightly more optimistic, and a much better speaker. He delivered his not-exactly-rosy forecast with levity and looked as if he enjoyed informing the room, which he had laughing on many occasions – and his visuals were way easier to read and understand. Finlayson explained that 2009 will be a difficult year, but by mid-year, credit conditions that are slowing the business cycle should improve, along with the U.S. economy, and 2010 should be a much better year. He forecasts housing starts (new construction) to be down by 40 or 50 per cent. Finlayson did a great job of explaining where all this mess came from and how Canada is better positioned to spend its way out of this recession via deficit budgets. Another positive point came in the fact that job losses will not likely be as sharp as in previous recessions because the demographics of recent years (families having fewer children and later in life, and people nearing retirement) will keep heavy losses in check – I’m sure you realize how tight labour markets have been up until a few months ago.

Victoria Real Estate Board 2009 President Chris Markham explained that while sales are slowing, it’s hard to compare 2008 to 2007 because it was an exceptionally strong year. This was emphasized by CMHC market analyst Travis Archibald showing that 2008 sales were actually very close to the 15-year average. The same goes for housing starts. They fell by a large percentage in 2008 over 2007, but are in-line with the historical averages. CMHC will be releasing its full outlook next month.

I think that Vancouver Island, and in particular, Victoria will fare better than the rest of the province, as we have a diversified economy, and stable major employers such as government and military. As for housing, it’s opportunity time out there. Buyers have their choice of many properties, and many would-be first-time buyers from the last few years, priced out by the rapidly increasing prices, will be looking at re-entering the hunt.

So, all in all, maybe the Island isn’t falling apart exactly, and I’m glad to be back. I’m optimistic about 2009, and we’re all in this together, so you might as well be optimistic too.

It’s all you can do.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Bank of Canada Slashes Interest Rates In December 2008 Meeting

Chop Chop Goes The Interest Rate!

Chop Chop Goes The Interest Rate!

UPDATE JAN 20, 2009: Click Here

In an effort to provide economic stimulus, the Bank of Canada has lowered its key overnight interest rate by 3/4 of a percent to 1.5% in its meeting today. Since the Canadian economy has been effectively hung out to dry by the political three-ring circus in Ottawa, I’m not surprised to see such a deep cut. If Parliament can’t/won’t do anything, then it’s up to the monetary policy makers at the Bank of Canada to provide stimulus to our economy.

Citing worse-than-expected economic performance both in this country and around the globe, the Bank has admitted that we are in fact in recession, but notes that recent fiscal and monetary actions by world governments is starting to have a positive effect on financial markets, however more time is needed for things to stabilize.

The trimming of the key rate provides a 50-year low in borrowing costs in Canada.

As with any rate cut by the BoC, it remains to be seen whether or not those savings will be reflected in the Big Five banks’ prime lending rates, currently at 4.0%.

Assuming the banks adopt the Bank’s drop in lending rates, and with the recent decline in real estate prices, sidelined buyers may just decide it’s a good time to enter the marketplace.

The Bank of Canada next meets on January 20th, 2009 to set the overnight rate. You can read the full Bank of Canada news release here.

If you have any questions about mortgages or about buying or selling real estate, please call me at 250-885-0512 or use the following link to contact me.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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B.C. Housing Market Spring Forecast

Expect sales volume to ease, prices to increase more slowly

BCREA Logo

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) has released its semi-yearly housing market forecast for the province. Despite economic troubles elsewhere in the country, B.C.’s economy is expected to remain strong and to outpace many other areas in Canada in terms of growth through 2009.

Provincial sales will dip to 93,800 in 2008 (a 9% drop) and 92,000 in 2009 (a further 2% drop). Eroding affordability and weaker economic growth are cited as reasons for the expected decline. Still, interprovincial and international migration will continue to underpin demand for housing in B.C., with individuals drawn to our province by robust job growth, climate, and amenities. The average residential price in B.C. is forecast ro increase 9 per cent to $479,000 this year, and a futher 4 per cent to $499,000 in 2009.

Regionally, BCREA predicts that Victoria MLS® sales will fall to 7800 units, a decline of 7 per cent from last year’s second-highest-on-record 8403 sales. Sales will remain above the ten-year average of 6750 units. The report notes that 12,000 jobs were created in the Victoria area in the first quarter of 2008. As I’ve said before, as our area diversifies its economy beyond government, military, and tourism, more and more people will continue to move here, attracted by competitive salaries and our Island way of life. The report forecasts an overall 10 per cent increase in prices this year, but notes that most of that growth has already occurred, and to expect single-digit growth for the rest of the year.

I think the most interesting prediction in the report is with housing starts. The report forecasts overall housing starts to drop 9 per cent this year (after a 6 per cent decline in 2007). Citing tight construction labour markets, higher credit costs, and trepidation on the part of developers, the BCREA feels that current new home inventories will be depleted, resulting in a higher level of construction activity in 2009 and 2010.

One thing to remember is that the BCREA’s report is based solely on MLS® data, and would not include sales of new homes by the developer’s private sales team, for example.

What do you think about the report? Comment below!

The full BCREA report can be found here.


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Bank Of Canada Expected To Cut Interest Rates

UPDATE: APR 22, 2008 RATE ANNOUNCEMENT

Don’t forget, the Bankof Canada meets tomorrow, April 22nd, 2008. The Bank is expected to cut interest rates by another 50 basis points (0.5%) to generate some stimulus in the weakening economy. This is of course great news for anyone on floating rate mortgages and buyers of real estate. With MLS listings at numbers we haven’t seen in years, buyers have more choice than ever when looking for that perfect place.

Be sure to check back tomorrow to see my post about the rate change meeting and my commentary.

Tim Ayres


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