June 30, 2015

Bubbles Usually Happen Because Of Speculators

The Helsinki Times reports from Finland. “Over 300,000 homes are without a permanent resident in Finland. How is it possible that Helsinki has enough vacant properties to accommodate the entire population of a small town? And why are there nearly as many vacant properties in Helsinki relative to population than elsewhere in Finland? That is a good question, says Ari Pauna, the chief executive at the Mortgage Society of Finland (Hypo). ‘It’s because people here can afford to keep a mortgage-free home empty,’ he replies. ‘There are people in Helsinki who can and want to keep their homes empty.’”

The Estevan Mercury in Canada. “Estevan may still be boasting the highest rental prices in the province, but in a Saskatchewan dealing with low oil prices, there is growing pressure for those prices to decline. At 5.5 per cent a year ago, rental properties are now roughly 20 per cent vacant. Estevan’s vacancy rate was effectively zero per cent in 2013. When looking at the fixed sample, Goodson Mwale, senior market analyst for CMHC in Saskatoon noted the rental price across all unit types has declined 13.4 per cent. ‘That gives you a sense of what has happened,’ said Mwale.”

ABC in Australia. “The mayor of a rural district in the heart of Queensland’s coal seam gas country says the industry’s construction boom has ended quicker than expected, with the industry now shedding jobs. The housing market in towns such as Dalby, Chinchilla and Roma responded quickly to the drop in employment opportunities. Chinchilla real estate agent Don Hart said some investors were shocked to see how rapidly the market dropped. ‘The people that have invested in the houses are probably worried because their rents have halved,’ he said. ‘There’s something like 300 rentals available in Chinchilla between all the agents. Two years ago we might have had 30 or 40 between us all.’”

The Economic Times in India. “Rajesh Mehta’s cellphone has not stopped ringing in recent days. The Bangalore based Mehta runs one of India’s largest jewellery export companies but the calls have nothing to do with precious metals or their value which has been as volatile as crude oil in recent months. Rather, Mehta has been inundated with enquiries from cash-strapped builders about financing their incomplete projects as banks turn off the spigot and equity markets remain hostile. Such private money is coming at exorbitant rates of even 36-40 per cent a year but that has not turned off anybody. ‘They (builders) are approaching us for loans, but we are being little more selective this time as we want our interest as well as loans serviced regularly,’ Mehta says.”

The Khmer Times in Cambodia. “Phnom Penh is changing at a blinding pace, with major new residential and commercial projects. Chrek Soknim, CEO of Century 21 Mekong Realty sees oversupply in some segments of the property market – but no sign of a bubble forming. KT: ‘Is there a healthy condominium market in Cambodia?’”

“Soknim: ‘With condos, at the moment, I don’t think there is a good market because of the large oversupply. The oversupply is mostly in condos that cost $100,000 or more. Foreigners buy 80 percent, and 20 percent Cambodians. I don’t think there are many speculators in the market right now because of the 30 percent oversupply [on expensive condos]. Most of the buyers are genuine investors. There is no bubble right now – bubbles usually happen because of speculators.’”

City Metric on China. “Enough floorspace to cover Hong Kong twice over is being constructed in China’s cities each year. Yet despite the fact that 250m more people are expected to move into cities by 2030, and even though the demand for modern housing is huge, an incredible amount of apartments are currently vacant. At a rough estimate, there are around 600m m2 of floor space still unoccupied – enough to completely cover Madrid.”

“Up until very recently, China’s housing market was loaded with speculators, people looking to store their excess savings in real estate, individuals aiming to launder illicitly received funds, and other parties who were buying property they had no intention of living in. This feeding frenzy of economic activity often pushed the prices of real estate so high that the pool of potential residents was severely reduced. This has lead to many cities and districts across China standing largely empty, even when all the houses have sold. As a result, they look like ghost towns.”

All Africa on Namibia. “Housing and rental prices in Tsumeb have dropped significantly in recent months and realtors in the copper-mining town anticipated this decrease in rental and housing prices earlier this year. A two-bedroom apartment in the townships cost as much as N$4 000 in the past with prices dropping to N$2 700 currently. Some one-bedroomed apartments in the posh areas of the town were rented out for as much as N$5 000. At the moment, apartments in the posh area have dropped to about N$3 000 for a one-bedroomed apartment.”

“A resident of Tsumeb, Alexia Xamises says she could not afford to rent a flat six months ago but now she can afford a one-bedroomed flat, as rentals have dropped. ‘I am able to rent a place of my own now although it has not completely dropped to affordable rates, at least I can have a place of my own,’ said Xamises.”

The Business News Network in Canada. “With the strong American dollar and partial rebound in U.S. real estate prices, Canadian snowbirds are coming back to the cold, selling homes they acquired following the U.S. housing meltdown. Lennon Sweeting, Currency Strategist at CanadianForex, says there has been a sharp jump and a clear trend of Canadians selling U.S. real estate. ‘A lot of investors are realizing the gain and took advantage of a soft U.S. economy, and are now looking to reinvest in Canada [because] we’ve got a pretty hot housing market as well,’ Sweeting said.”

RSS feed


Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 04:12:01

From the last link, they messed up the line but you can figure it out:

‘From mid-2013 to mid-2014, 170 percent of CanadianForex clients sold their U.S. property. So far this year, selling has increased another 60 percent.’

‘Florida and Arizona are the top states with most activity, with top Canadian sellers coming from Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.’

Don’t let the door hit your a##. I’m going to do a little desk clearing as it’s piling up.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 04:16:02

‘If you were ever unsure about the zeal with which the universe tends to punish hubris, well, you need only look to Alberta these days for a reminder. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that both provincial and federal political leaders from Alberta were proclaiming their province as the economic engine of the country, one with horsepower to spare and a lifetime warranty. It had massive deposits of oil, the expertise and capital needed to get it out of the ground and a global economy that was willing to pay for as much of it as Alberta could provide.’

‘And while there were a few voices at the periphery arguing that having all of the province’s proverbial chips laid on one particular craps table might not be the most prudent idea, you could barely hear them over the din of the players and onlookers whose bets were all paying off at once.’

‘But as any gambler knows, those dice can go cold in a hurry. The falling price of oil has evolved from a near-term concern into an existential threat, and there’s every reason to think that it could stay lower for longer than anyone in this province is prepared for.’

‘And as if to add insult to all of these injuries, Calgary’s housing market just recorded the biggest slide in recorded history. Sales are down nearly a third on a year-over-year basis, and prices have started to decline as well. But if residential landlords in Cowtown are feeling bruised, their peers in the commercial real estate business appear to have nicked their collective jugular.’

‘It might be tempting at this point for people in the rest of the country to indulge in a bit of schadenfreude. It wasn’t that long ago that Albertans were lording their economic prowess over anyone who would listen – and plenty who wouldn’t, too. And sure, we might have enjoyed the prospect of Ontario becoming a have-not province a little bit too much. But unless you enjoy the sensation of shattered glass falling on your shoulders, you’re probably going to want to hold off on the gloating. After all, while Albertans may be all-in on oil and gas, Canadians are all-in on real estate, and the prognosis for that commodity might be even worse than the one for liquid dinosaurs.’

Comment by snake charmer
2015-06-30 08:18:37

During the last two decades, “voices at the periphery” have been correct far more often than not. A healthy and functioning culture would respond by adopting those views, and relegating incorrect prior voices to the periphery, but not only has social mobility stalled, mobility of ideas has too.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 04:19:19

‘There are further signs of weakness in Perth’s property market with a big spike in the number of homes for rent. REIWA president David Airey said he cannot recall such a high vacancy rate in the past 15 years.’

“It’s almost approaching record numbers,” Mr Airey said. “It will not be surprising to see the vacancy rate hit 5 per cent shortly, which means there are a lot of rental properties sitting empty and available for tenants.”

‘Mr Airey said the spike in rental vacancies is likely to increase. “We’re leasing [on] average across the city around 1,200 properties a week,” he said. “But on top of that, another 150 a week are coming on, so effectively the surplus is growing by about 150 a week.”

‘Rents have fallen by up to 20 per cent and landlords needed to adjust to the new market conditions, Mr Airey claimed. “It’s many years since we’ve seen vacancy rates like this, in fact I can’t recall when it was worse, it was certainly 10 or 15 years ago when we had this number of properties on the market.”

“Tenants have got plenty of choice and they will take the best property at the best rent. So to owners and investors, it’s a very good time to update your rental property to order to meet the market.”

Comment by bink
2015-06-30 07:43:35

Yes, when rents are decreasing and vacancies are at all time highs, that’s when you double down by renovating.

Comment by rms
2015-06-30 22:27:18

“But on top of that, another 150 a week are coming on, so effectively the surplus is growing by about 150 a week.”

“Keep building.” –Sarah Winchester

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 04:23:23

‘Perth is awash with vacant offices, while its stagnant housing market “feels just like a recession”, property experts have warned. Property Council of Australia executive director Joe Lenzo said the inner-city office vacancy rate was now about 16 per cent and would be about 20 per cent by year’s end.’

“Right now it’s a tenant’s market, no question about it,” Mr Lenzo said. “It’s not going to get any better any time soon.”

‘Residential rents are also falling. Perth residential vacancy rates have risen to 4.9 per cent, according to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA), just three years after an emerging rental crisis occurred in Perth where vacancy rates dipped below 0.7 per cent.’

‘Craig Kelson, of Kelson Real Estate in Carlisle, south of Perth, said many sellers were pricing their $500,000 to $600,000 homes about 5 per cent too high. “You have to price a home spot on or people won’t even turn up to the home open,” Mr Kelson said. “It feels just like a recession.”

‘Given there has been a spate of building activity that has only recently subsided, some of the most pain is being felt among those who subdivided properties and are trying to now offload several identical homes into a subdued market.’

Comment by Arizona Slim
2015-06-30 08:23:52

Look at a map. Perth is a long way from anywhere else in AU. Which is why overbuilding and overpricing make no sense.

Comment by snake charmer
2015-06-30 08:31:06

It’s going to get much worse. And Perth is quite agreeable as a city; the sheer remoteness of the place gives it an end-of-the-world feeling. One of the native fauna is — not a joke — the black swan.


Comment by In Colorado
2015-06-30 11:36:55

Imagine if San Diego was the only metro area on the US west coast, and if the closest large metro area was DFW or maybe Denver.

Comment by snake charmer
2015-06-30 12:18:38

I flew there from Adelaide and out the window was endless nothingness, the aptly-named Nullarbor Plain. As for the locals, as with everywhere I traveled in Australia, they were raucous and friendly and treated me to numerous alcoholic beverages at any hour of the day.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2015-06-30 04:26:34

‘There are people in Helsinki who can and want to keep their homes empty.’”

The owners of 25 million houses in the US think the same.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 06:43:51

What is the logic for owning and maintaining an empty, depreciating crapshack?

Comment by Arizona Slim
2015-06-30 08:25:01

It’s not about logic. It’s about a sentimental attachment to a…


Comment by redmondjp
2015-06-30 11:27:34

Because it depreciates even faster if you don’t?

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2015-06-30 04:29:38

“Like The Nation, Homeownership Rate In Raleigh Metro Going Down”


Why buy a house when you can rent it for half the monthly cost?

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2015-06-30 04:35:10

“The Housing Recovery Is Weak”


A ‘housing recovery’ is falling prices to dramatically lower and more affordable levels by definition.

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2015-06-30 04:39:47

“Housing Market Has Shifted Back To A Buyers Market”


Much too premature as there isn’t a market until prices fall back to market levels. And that is a long way down from here.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 04:44:09

‘Brisbane is set to buck a national trend and become the only Australian capital to escape declining median house prices in real terms over the next three years. But a BIS Shrapnel housing market outlook also warned of an impending oversupply of inner city apartments.’

‘The Residential Property Prospects 2015 to 2018 puts Brisbane’s estimated median house price in June 2015 at $520,000, reflecting an average five per cent yearly increase in growth since 2012. Study author Angie Zigomanis said that was still below Brisbane’s June 2010 peak in real terms, and coupled with low interest rates meant affordability was at levels seen in the early 2000s.’

‘He said a large number of inner-city apartment developments being sold off the plan meant the sector could be flooded in coming years. “While apartment landlords at the moment might be OK chasing up tenants, in two or three years when they’re all completed it’ll become a much more competitive environment,” he said. “They won’t be able to get the rental premium they normally have, but it also means people in older more established apartment blocks will have to start discounting their rents to compete against the new stuff.”

‘He said some landlords in Melbourne had started offering sweeteners such as free pay TV to lure prospective tenants, and similar tactics could be employed here. It could also have more minor flow-on effects in the rental housing sector, if people chose cheaper apartment rent instead.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 04:48:10

‘Everything from organic farming to free shuttle service is being offered by the largest real estate player of India. The country’s largest real estate firm, DLF, has started organic farming in one of its housing projects in Gurgaon to sell vegetables to residents cheaply. It is also giving away toll coupons to residents of New Town Heights at Sector 98, Gurgaon, and has thrown in a cheap transport service.’

‘Many developers such as Supertech and Vatika offer free transport and caretaker services. This is the first time DLF is offering them. A few months ago, DLF for the first time offered discounts in its various housing projects across India to increase sales.’

‘Developers began reducing house prices two years ago, to revive sales after banks tapered lending to the real estate sector. However, DLF refused to follow till recently. A DLF spokesperson said it was offering free health check-ups, doorstep medicine delivery, yoga classes, and coordination for domestic help, car cleaners and gas cylinders.’

‘The thrice-a-day shuttle service, free earlier, is now subsidised. And till a daily needs store is opened, DLF has given a grocery van. “Since the DLF Gardencity area is a developing market, facilities for daily needs are required. We realised residents relocating from developed residential areas would face difficulties, and hence we started these facilities at New Town Heights.” said Vikram O Datta, vice-president, marketing, DLF.’

‘DLF has delivered 2,450 apartments in this project and more than 350 families are living in it.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 04:51:30

‘Coming hard on property developers, top mortgage lender HDFC’s Chairman Deepak Parekh has said they are unrelenting on pricing despite a growing inventory of unsold housing units. The eminent banker also asked the developers to shift their focus away from high-end luxury housing and said the “real demand is in the affordable housing segment”.

‘Parekh, known for his frank views, said many construction companies were hamstrung with over-leveraged balance sheets, while he also flagged delays in completion of projects because of developers trying to “deviate from standard building norms by paying to flout rules”.

“Such malpractices are hazardous for all,” Parekh said, while adding that the developers must ensure strict adherence to ethical building codes and standards. “A regime that shuns ’speed money’ and focuses only on ’speed’ would go a long way in improving affordability in the housing sector,” the HDFC chairman said.’

‘Realtors’ apex body Credai’s national president Getamber Anand, however, rejected the criticism that pricing was unrealistic and developers were focussed on luxury projects.’

“High-end housing is very small in volume and is being done only in some metros like Mumbai. In the rest of the country, price points are very realistic in the range of Rs 3500-5,500 per sq ft. “There is no room for lowering this price range because input costs have gone up and there is also cost of interest. Moreover, there has been a slowdown in the economy in the last two years,” Anand said.’

‘According to real estate research firm PropEquity, about 7.6 lakh housing units are unsold in 14 major cities, out of which Mumbai Metropolitan Region, NCR and Bengaluru together account for more than two-thirds.’

‘Anand also said the unsold inventory was estimated at 6-7 lakh housing units across the country. Asked about funding for land buying, Anand said the banks should give loan to genuine developers who will build homes on that land and such funding should not be to finance the speculators in the market.’

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-06-30 04:52:37

Palm Beach Gardens, FL Housing Prices Fall 18%


Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 04:53:36

‘As the tradition of moving on July 1 approaches, Montreal’s vacancy rate sits at over three per cent for the first time in almost 20 years. In spite of that, some families are still having a hard time finding a new home in their price range.’

‘According to some experts, the reason rents haven’t come down is simple: condos.’

“There’s lots of people buying condos to rent out, there’s lots of people (trying to sell) condos and the market is softer so they’re not selling,” said Bill Palmer, a realtor with Groupe Sutton. “They’re also putting them on the market to rent.”

‘The implications are especially difficult for low-income families, according to Montreal Municipal Housing Agency Director Patricia Bouchard. “Even if the vacancy rate is high, it is not easier for low income households,” she said. “Because rents are still too high and when it’s affordable it’s sometimes in bad condition.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 04:56:26

‘Garth Turner doesn’t envy those standing on the cusp of homeownership trying to decide between buying and continuing to rent, especially if they’re hoping to buy in one of Canada’s largest cities.’

“Why would any young person want to buy a condo in Toronto or Calgary or Vancouver and actually pay twice the monthly cost than it would take to rent the same unit?” says the investment advisor, real estate blogger and former Progressive Conservative MP. “Compared to places like London or Paris, Toronto’s a backwater and yet we’re paying these amazing global prices – rents are actually really cheap in Canada because real estate values are inflated.”

‘Millennials, he laments, are caught in a workshop vice with the rent-versus-own predicament. “One half of the vice is really crazy stupid expensive real estate prices and the other part is there aren’t great jobs and there’s no income gains because the economy sucks,” Turner said.’

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 06:50:24

“Why would any young person want to buy … and actually pay twice the monthly cost than it would take to rent the same unit?”

That’s precisely the question we’ve asked here on the HBB for over a decade already.

Comment by pricedoutforno
2015-06-30 20:16:09

I ask myself the same thing every day. I rent a 4 bedroom 1950s bungalow for $2000 a month in Vancouver proper. The assessed value is about $1 million. Nice neighbourhood, mostly SFHs, not many with suites, very desirable neighbourhood, lots of trees and seniors who have been in the same houses for decades. Sometimes people knock on our door and ask if we want to sell (so they can tear it down, build a monster home with a suite and laneway house). I say sure, $2 million cash, on the corner at midnight and the house is yours. haha!

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 04:59:49

‘Developers of Toronto’s five-star Trump International Hotel & Tower “misrepresented” how much investors could make buying and renting out its novel hotel-condo suites because it was the only way they could sell the overpriced units, a court was told.’

‘Sales and senior executives with the rookie builder of the project, Talon International, have long maintained they weren’t marketing the units as investments, but rather as upscale real estate in the heart of the city.’

‘But potential buyers were given detailed financial statements - tailored to their unit - promising hefty returns based on room rates and occupancy levels that were grossly overstated, Mitchell Wine, the lawyer for 24 plaintiffs trying to renege on deals, told an Ontario Superior Court Justice.’

‘The plaintiffs are seeking damages between $200,000 and $1 million, based on their losses and cancellation of the deals. Many were naïve, first-time investors who barely spoke English or borrowed money from parents to make down payments on what were, at the time, the priciest condos in the city.’

‘But the worst was to come as the oft-delayed project set to open in February of 2012, about three years behind schedule, court was told.’

‘Talon slapped buyers with five significant new charges just days before they were to take interim occupancy. These included management and reservation fees and a fund for maintaining and replacing furniture that had never been mentioned before buyers finalized deals back in 2006 and 2007, Wine told the court.’

‘International buyers - the 276 hotel-condo units, which averaged more than $800,000, were heavily marketed to Asian and European investors — were also hit with a hefty withholding tax that wiped out any possibility of making a profit, let alone the big returns touted by Talon sales officials, Wine told the court.’

“The evidence of misrepresentation is overwhelming,” in sales materials said Wine, noting that from the day the hotel complex opened in early 2012 “these things hemorrhaged money.”

Comment by Combotechie
2015-06-30 05:30:36

“Developers of Toronto’s five-star Trump International Hotel & Tower …”

Trump! The Donald!

“… ‘misrepresented’ …”

OMG! That word! Say it ain’t so …

“… ‘misrepresented’ how much investors could make buying and renting out its novel hotel-condo suites because it was the only way they could sell the overpriced units, a court was told.”

Shocking! Absolutely shocking!

Q. What is a sure bet?

A. That The Donald will claim that he had nothing to do with the enterprise other than lending to it his magical name of Trump.

Teflon, Teflon Trump.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 06:57:11

“Teflon Trump”

Sounds well-qualified to become the next CIC.

Comment by snake charmer
2015-06-30 08:38:50

Trump being sued is a leading indicator that a real estate bubble is bursting. I’ve often written in this space about the never-built Trump Tower Tampa. With great fanfare, one year’s “Apprentice” winner was sent here to supervise the project, which was to be our tallest building, with an ego-boosting giant letter “T” in its structure. I’m not sure how the litigation concluded.

Comment by redmondjp
2015-06-30 11:33:15

ISTR that The Donald sued to remove his name/trademark from the failed project. Can’t have that tainted. Oh yes, this from Wikipedia:

On May 30, 2007, Donald Trump demanded his name be removed from the project, and sued the developers for over $1 million in unpaid license fees for the use of the Trump name. On the same day, the phone at the developer’s office was listed as disconnected.

Comment by redmondjp
2015-06-30 12:09:26

Oh, this article from 2011 is even better, and could have been written yesterday!


I wonder what the collective memory down there is on this - four years is a long time . . .

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by snake charmer
2015-06-30 12:25:54

From 2005:

“When it comes to selling 190 luxury condominium residences in downtown Tampa, in a building bearing the letters T-R-U-M-P, a bit of show-business strategy can come in handy.

Donald J. Trump, New York real estate mogul and star of NBC’s hit reality series “The Apprentice,” dispatched Kelly Perdew, winner of the show’s second edition, to work with local developers of the $220-million project. Having endured 16 weeks on national television, including a live finale, Perdew is used to spotlights and unblinking camera eyes.”


Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 05:06:15

‘The “wall of Chinese capital” hitting property markets in Sydney and Melbourne will not ease up until the government introduces its anti-money laundering legislation, says an expert in ‘flight capital’.

‘James Tee, an ethnic Chinese property developer whose business specialises in “capital expatriation” – that is, getting money out of China and into his property developments in Malaysia – told Fairfax Media the exodus of capital from China was accelerating, thanks to the government’s anti-corruption drive.’

“We have been tracking this for two years,” says Tee. Those outflows from China are compounded by the flight of capital out of Canada which is now “bursting” to find a home in Australia.’

‘Due to the bubble in Canadian house prices and ensuing concerns over social dislocation, Canada’s government shut down its investor visa program last year. Some 40,000 Chinese visa applicants with a minimum loan to governments of $C800,000 were handed back their capital.’

“That’s roughly $32 billion,” says Tee. “The Canadian government said: ‘We don’t want your money anymore’ and that capital is now hitting the Sydney market. There is a mountain of liquidity. China is bursting with flight capital. They can’t go to the US, they can’t get it into Singapore anymore, or Hong Kong.”

‘Property prices in Sydney and Melbourne don’t reflect market fundamentals as Chinese investors are not worried about a property crash since their principal objective is parking money in a secure environment offshore rather than achieving an investment return. “That means they can afford to take a 20 per cent to 30 per cent haircut,” says Tee.’

“Sydney becoming like Singapore and Hong Kong where an entire generation has been locked out of the property market. There are social consequences for this. I don’t think anybody understands just how much money is coming in. The anti-corruption drive in China … they [the government of Premier Xi Jinping] are really serious about it”.

‘Indeed, the dramatic effects have been felt in Macau where the crackdown on black money leaving China has seen gross gaming revenues drop by 39 per cent in the month of April, representing 11 successive months of decline.’

“Obviously the slowdown in Macau is more severe in truth than any of the operators foresaw. I don’t think any of the operators could have predicted what has happened now,” James Packer told CNBC last month. “As an Australian investor in China and Macau, it’s very hard to be critical of a corruption crackdown … [but] when and how that ends is something that no one knows.”

‘Tee says recent figures in the media which put Chinese investment in the Sydney property market at 25 per cent of total sales were too low. He says it might be twice this level but it is hard to tell because of the lack of transparency on ownership.’

‘Most Chinese purchases hide behind trustees and proxies. Third parties such as friends and relatives were often used. “Chinese students are being paid 2 per cent of the purchase price of the property to purchase property on behalf of relatives,” says Tee.’

‘Another person au fait with Chinese property transactions in Australia told Fairfax Media it was simple for Chinese investors to get around the foreign capital restrictions. “The money never really moves. In a simple example, Kunlun is a forex trading and money exchange company. It has bank accounts in many countries with significant cash balances. So if someone wants $40 million in Australia they put the money in a Kunlun China account and Kunlun transfers the money from their Australian accounts to the person’s friend’s Australian account.”

“Kunlun is just one example – any large trading multinational will hold large reserves of cash in each country so they can effect a transfer with an internal paper transaction. No banks or government scrutiny involved. And given that they don’t do effective reporting in this country, who will ever trace it?”

“The current situation is that one of the best assets a local Chinese can have is a permanent Australian residence. They will have ‘friends’ lining up to ‘loan’ them money to buy properties in Australia. All the government needs to do is follow the cash.”

‘Sadly, for a generation of young homebuyers it seems the government is not interested in following the cash. Otherwise our politicians, of both major parties, would have introduced the second tranche of AML legislation by now and real estate agents would have to prove that their clients’ funds were legitimate.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 05:13:14

‘The string of houses that back on to High Park’s Grenadier Pond in Toronto’s west end are seldom offered for sale and people tend to marvel at the rarefied setting when they are. “I don’t think there are too many places where you can walk out on a back terrace and all you see is green,” says real estate agent Jillinda Greene.’

‘Ms. Greene, of ReMax Hallmark Realty Ltd., figured that setting an asking price was really just conjecture, despite the input of two appraisers and a handful of colleagues. “I always knew it was up to whoever bought it,” she says, “With a house like that, once it’s gone, you’re not going to find it again. It was such an unusual property.”

‘She tossed out an asking price of $1.698-million and – after five buyers joined the fray – the winning bid came in at $2.11-million. The property was also unusual in that it was a duplex. A third suite on the lower level was set up for a caregiver.’

‘Mr. Regan says the brisk sales are encouraging some property owners to put their houses on the market. Along Mississauga Road and the surrounding side streets, for example, “for sale” signs are abundant. He says a Mississauga Road address was once a status symbol but, as the thoroughfare becomes busier, properties tend to sit longer.’

‘More entry-level buyers can find a three-bedroom bungalow or split-level house in the $700,000 to $900,000 range, he adds. Such properties are often renovated, detached and built in the 1960s, he says.’

‘Numbers from the Toronto Real Estate Board demonstrate how torrid the market has remained in an unusually chilly June. According to TREB, resale housing activity jumped 15.7 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area in the first half of June compared with the same period last year. The average selling price during the first 14 days of the month was $650,732, or 12 per cent higher than it was in the first half of June, 2014.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 05:18:25

So it’s unusual to have some grass? That much for a chance to live 2 feet from someone else? Like the Denver example yesterday, you never know in what winter wonderland the mania will take hold.

Comment by Combotechie
2015-06-30 05:36:11

“That much for a chance to live 2 feet from someone else?”

When the sex that you just had is really good then even the neighbors will light up a cigarette.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2015-06-30 08:28:42

Light up a smoke? Mehhhh, they’re probably recording the action. If not the video, then the audio.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by In Colorado
2015-06-30 10:12:10

Like the Denver example yesterday, you never know in what winter wonderland the mania will take hold.

FWIW, winters are not that severe on the Front Range. We have plenty of upper midwest transplants here, and to hear them them talk about the local weather you’d think this was San Diego.

Oops! I wasn’t supposed to say that … the winters here are brutal, it’s worse than Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota combined. Don’t move here, you’ll hate it.

OK, that’s better.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 05:48:34

Look at the volumes on those.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 05:51:52

‘Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its credit rating on Puerto Rico to ‘CCC-minus’ from ‘CCC-plus’, hours after Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the U.S. territory needed a period of bankruptcy to restructure its debt.’

‘A default, distressed exchange, or redemption of Puerto Rico’s debt within the next six months seems inevitable, S&P said in a statement.’

‘Shares of banks and bond insurers exposed to Puerto Rico, such as MBIA Inc and Assured Guaranty Ltd, plummeted on Monday due to growing fears that the U.S. territory would default, and options activity on many of those shares hinted at further declines.’

A US territory. Dead broke.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 06:59:24

Is Puerto Rico too big to fail?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by In Colorado
2015-06-30 10:14:18

PR will get some sort of bailout. While not a state, it is part of the USA and a default would be a black eye for Uncle Sam.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2015-06-30 08:33:08

When I was growing up in eastern PA, I went to a junior high school that had a sudden influx of migrant workers’ kids.

These kids were from PR, and let’s just say that they weren’t all that familiar with formal education. They may have been old enough to be in 7th or 8th grade, but they sure didn’t have that many years of schooling. And their English skills? Minimal at best.

That was back in the 1970s. Some of those kids stuck around and graduated from our local high schools. A lot of them moved on.

But I did notice something about the people who stayed in the area. Real go-getters.

One of them became of friend of my mother’s when he was a county judge. He’s now a federal judge, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him become a Supreme Court justice.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by snake charmer
2015-06-30 08:50:50

I attended several years of elementary school in Puerto Rico, although the majority of my instruction was in English. The island has suffered a stupendous brain and talent drain for years. Because Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, emigrating is not a problem.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2015-06-30 09:25:38

Think of Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor as an example of the brain drain. Her parents got the you-know-what out of PR and came to the Mainland. Something about wanting a better life for themselves and their kids.

Likewise, my mother’s friend, the federal judge. I don’t think he would have gotten near college, let alone law school, if his family had stayed in PR.

Comment by Puggs
2015-06-30 09:20:15

Maybe the Super Shemitah will clear the global books?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Combotechie
2015-06-30 05:52:11

The dip! Buy the dip!

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 13:09:41

‘ Shares of MBIA Inc. extended a decline that has erased 41 percent of the bond insurer’s market value in two days after Puerto Rico’s governor said the island would seek to delay payments on its $72 billion of debt.’

‘MBIA shares fell as much as 22 percent on Tuesday as Odeon Capital Group LLC joined analysts cutting their recommendation on the insurer because it guaranteed much of the U.S. commonwealth’s debt. The cost to protect against a default by the company reached the highest since May 2013, when the insurer regained investment-grade ratings from Standard & Poor’s it had lost during the U.S. housing crisis.’

‘Credit-default swaps protecting against a default by the insurer jumped 67 basis points to 798 basis points. They’ve increased from 631 on June 26.’


(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 06:18:24

‘The morning after the Abbott government’s ‘horror’ first budget, a crowd of journalists stood in the chilly Senate courtyard to hear welfare organisations explain what government cuts would mean to Australia’s poor.’

‘The human cost would be high, but there were also knock-on effects for the economy. As I wrote at the time, the cuts would mean “billions of dollars in reduced spending power for tenants renting at the cheaper end of the property market … Property investors in the less glamorous suburbs of metropolitan or regional centres may feel the sting of welfare cuts as much as their tenants”.

‘A year later, that sting, and several others, are being felt. Figures released earlier this month by CoreLogic RP Data show rents growing at their slowest rate on record, at 1.5 per cent per year, with gross rental yields in hot-spot capitals Melbourne and Sydney falling to 3.3 and 3.6 per cent respectively.’

‘The desultory yields for Melbourne and Sydney have very little to do with the budget, and a lot to do with the RBA’s attempts to stimulate the economy through record low interest rates.’

‘Those low rates have failed to boost genuinely productive investment, but have helped pump up the Melbourne and Sydney property bubbles. And as dwelling prices rise, rental yields, by definition, fall. It’s important to remember too that gross yields are not directly comparable to investment returns in other asset classes.’

‘For instance, fixed-term deposit rates are currently available from several banks at between 3.0 and 3.5 per cent for six months. Given those investments are virtually risk free, they might look attractive in pure dollar terms compared with the Melbourne gross rental yield of 3.3 per cent – which comes with higher risks.’

‘It’s a lot more complex than that, however. Gross yields are simply the rental income earned, divided by the value of the property and expressed as a percentage. They do not take account of a range of expenses: agent fees, council rates, maintenance and repairs, money lost during periods the property is vacant, and in some cases strata title levies.’

‘In property investment, many investors pay out more in interest on their investment property loan, and the other costs listed above, than they earn in rental income. And the ATO currently allows that loss to reduce their taxable income from other sources, and so cut their tax bill.’

‘There are currently 1.2 million negatively geared investment properties in Australia – a giant cottage industry in which mum-and-dad investors run their businesses at a loss.’

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 07:04:01

‘There are currently 1.2 million negatively geared investment properties in Australia – a giant cottage industry in which mum-and-dad investors run their businesses at a loss.’

How many similarly underwater household enterprises are there in the U.S., despite massive government intervention to make bad investment decisions look smart through the lens of the rear view mirror?

Comment by redmondjp
2015-06-30 12:05:56

I know that there is one SFH rental close to me that is now a rental that can’t possibly be cash-flow positive.

Everybody betting on appreciation again. Ruh-roh!

Comment by Arizona Slim
2015-06-30 16:51:25

Here in Tucson, the same thing is happening.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 06:23:14

Take a look at these goobers. I think he’s wearing his girlfriends pants.:

‘After renting a condo in the West Don Lands for six months, Timothy and Megan decided they were ready to commit—to each other (they’re newly engaged) and to a home. They wanted a sizable yard (for Timothy, who loves gardening) and a second floor with at least two bedrooms, for a future child or two. Starting with a budget of $500,000, they focused their search in Corktown and South Riverdale, figuring they’d get more house for their money east of Yonge than west. Several bidding wars later, they realized they’d need to boost their budget to land a home anywhere near their desired location.’

From the comments:

‘Two 30 year olds buying a house in this market, in this city, for $205,000 over their budget?’

‘500K was just their starting budget…clearly they could afford more if
they were able to bid up to 700K mark. With the average price of detach
homes in Toronto at the 1.15 million mark, 500K wasn’t realistic to
begin with anyways. I would take the sold over asking prices with a
pinch of salt…clearly they were priced for bidding wars.’

‘Afford? You mean get a ridiculously leveraged mortgage at 2.5% with maybe $20,000 down? How can an RN and a designer ‘afford’ a house this expensive? The Toronto real estate frenzy is completely out of whack. They just flipped the condo? What a waste of real estate and lawyer fees and tax!! Where is this couple getting the money?? The bank of mom??’

‘Classic nasty T.O comments. Jealous? Bitter? Need to let everyone know how much you hate the current state of the housing market? Me, I think they got a fair deal in an area where values are going to rise over the next 5 - 10 years, although the pressures from the new Revival development may be an issue. Better value than the crazy prices in Riverdale & Leslieville and a smart choice to buy a house with a rental unit. Good luck.’

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-06-30 07:20:04

Cartoonish. The comments, the players…. and Anklepants himself. Cartoonish.

Comment by snake charmer
2015-06-30 09:01:34

I don’t get skinny jeans on men. Does anyone not in the fashion industry think that looks good?

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-06-30 09:07:52

Lola does.

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 09:50:15

Skinny jeans don’t fit over adult diapers

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by rms
2015-06-30 22:51:20

“Starting with a budget of $500,000, they focused their search in Corktown and South Riverdale, figuring they’d get more house for their money east of Yonge than west. Several bidding wars later, they realized they’d need to boost their budget to land a home anywhere near their desired location.”

Who is going to lend this feckless couple that kind of money?

Comment by taxpayers
Comment by Arizona Slim
2015-06-30 08:34:39

Given the recent CA decision, the one that noted the mis-classification of the drivers, I think that Uber’s about to take a big nosedive.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2015-06-30 08:43:58

Based upon the control that drivers have over their own schedule (they drive when they want, don’t when they don’t want to), that decision struck me as completely off the mark.

Statutory employees do not have that kind of self-determination.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2015-06-30 10:19:40

A lot of us in the tech industry do.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by In Colorado
2015-06-30 11:30:10

But you’re still expected to put in a week’s worth of work. Uber drivers can decide how many hours they will work on any given week.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 11:34:45

There were cab companies before uber. I don’t think it is hard to get a job at one. It’s like people who drive their wheels off delivering pizza; might as well pay to work.

Comment by johnberk
2015-06-30 07:44:18

It looks like while Canadians are selling their properties in US, they are also very anxious about buying themselves a new condo in Toronto or Vancouver. It seems that nothing has changed after the last price bump stroke Canada two years ago. When you are willing to pay more than
$150k over the asking price, you should start thinking about your future projections.

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2015-06-30 08:19:59

Washington, DC Housing Prices Fall 6%


Comment by rj chicago
Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2015-06-30 09:06:14

CS is an backward looking index and does a poor job. Worse yet it excludes foreclosures and defaults.

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2015-06-30 09:10:11

Aurora, CO Housing Inventory Explodes 187%; Prices Fall 15%


Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-06-30 11:56:42

“Former Realtor Sentenced to 5 Years for Leading Decade-Long Mortgage Fraud Scheme”


They’ll rehire him after his sentence.

Comment by Anonymous
2015-06-30 15:57:09

“According to Zillow, the new median rent in San Francisco is $4,225 a month…”

“Increased rents in Oakland (up 21.6% YOY); Berkeley (up 30.9% YOY); Emeryville (up 29.5 YOY); San Jose (up 14% YOY) and even Daly City (up 201.1% YOY) make the San Francisco Metropolitan region the fastest growing rental market in the USA.”

I’m a renter and a believe it’s often more cost effective than buying. But it’s ludicrous to pay those amounts in rent.


Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-07-01 08:27:34


Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

Trackback responses to this post