Chuck Schumer speaks following leak of Bolton book excerpt
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed reporters Monday on Day 6 of the Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump, after an excerpt from a book written by former National Security Advisor John Bolton was made public. Global News JAN 27, 2020
Here is a chart I published in a 2012 post "What Do You Do During a Housing Bust".
The answer is "save".
If the CRB chart above has correctly identified a cyclical swing between bull and bear commodity production, then we should expect another "lost decade" of balance sheet repair especially in the over-speculated and now depreciating housing asset markets of Canada.
Full CMHC 33 page 3Q 2019 PDF Report Here.
CMHC launched a new report earlier this week that will focus on mortgage market trends in Canada on a quarterly basis. This first report entitled "Mortgage Market Slowing & Share of Uninsured Mortgages Increasing" indeed highlights 2 major trends in place:
#1 above suggests that housing unaffordability continues to grow as fewer potential buyers can qualify for a high ratio debt to equity insured mortgage.
#2 suggests that reducing mortgage rates by 75% over the last thirty-plus years has led to debt revulsion as identified in my Household Debt chart which shows a peak and flattening since the hot market price peaks of 2017
These trends have taken 10, 20, 30 and 40 years for the credit cycle to fully manifest and now the effects of unproductive capital have emerged with a nascent transition to the early stage of a new credit cycle where companies and households will try to deleverage by reducing the amount of debt they hold while risk appetite is low and the cost of risk taking is high.
...History has shown that it takes a “long, long” time to restore household balance sheets, a situation that will be all that more difficult with trade and business spending hampered...
David Tulk, International Portfolio Manager for Fidelity Investment Canada, March 2019
...The nation may already be in recession after growing at an annualized pace of just 0.4 per cent in the fourth quarter (2018) and a pretty “soggy” start to the year (2019)...
David Wolf, Asset Allocations for Fidelity Investment and Former adviser to the Bank of Canada
...Canada’s households are clearly more stretched in terms of debt and spending than their American counterparts... There’s just no latent capacity to spend or to buffer a shock in Canada... They just have less room for error, less room to cushion any kind of hit with spending, before they would actually fall into outright dissavings...
Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management Inc
Source of Quotes above from Financial Post.com June 2019
One of the problems facing our "economy" is the rampant flow of hard to track global criminal capital moving into jurisdictions attractive to money laundering... in this case Canada. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund produces corruption ratings and by their measure British Columbia ranked fourth for money laundering among six regions in Canada. Manitoba and Saskatchewan combined were said to have more money laundering activity than B.C.
"B.C. Attorney General David Eby announced Justice Austin Cullen has agreed to lead what will be known as the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, which is expected to produce a report in May 2021." Powell River Peak, May 2019
Meanwhile the "Vancouver Model" continues to move east across Canada (see my NOV 2018 post DIRTY REAL ESTATE); "The C.D. Howe Institute study estimates of money laundering in Canada range from $5 billion to $100 billion. SEP 2018"
That money after it's cleaned flows into business elements and hard assets throughout the "economy". It's going to take a new generation of activists to replace the mob model we find ourselves in.
One thing that generation could do is to replace our taxation system with an iteration of the APT tax which is an automated micro tax on any financial transaction. The authors of the APT tax model demonstrate the "desirability and feasibility of replacing the present system of personal and corporate income, sales, excise, capital gains, import and export duties, gift and estate taxes with a single comprehensive revenue neutral Automated Payment Transaction (APT) tax... In its simplest form, the APT tax consists of a flat tax levied on all transactions. The tax is automatically assessed and collected when transactions are settled through the electronic technology of the banking/ payments system... Real time tax collection at source of payment applies to all types of transactions, thereby reducing administration and compliance costs as well as opportunities for tax evasion."
Additionally, the APT can be adjusted easily so that it is revenue neutral, ie: we could as a society set our fiscal priorities to accomplish our social contract goals with a tax burden of less than 2% of ALL financial transactions throughout a computerized banking and financial system. We would not have to debate where the money comes from... there is more than enough of that... but we would only be left with a debate of how to invest the money. See my complete APT post of NOV 2012
Let the new digital generation take this challenge on.
Meanwhile David Rosenberg May 2019
The investor class is heading towards liquidity
in the form of U.S. Treasuries and the USD
On march 11th 2019, David Larock an independent full-time mortgage broker laid out his "Case for Lower Canadian Mortgage Rates", below edited, but read the whole feature report at MoveSmartly.com
The Bank of Canada acknowledged that our current economic slowdown is now “more pronounced and widespread” than it had previously forecast.
Global economic momentum is slowing.
Our economic slowdown has been sharper than expected.
Housing and consumption have slowed, and business investment and exports haven’t picked up the slack as the BoC had hoped.
Inflation expectations have been lowered.
Uncertainty is increasing.
Our output gap is widening because debt is choking off growth, and that is a powerful, long-term headwind, which will continue to exert itself long after global trade networks have been re-established.
On this last item, my Household Debt chart is in agreement.
Tuomas Malinen @mtmalinen for the charts above.
Today, March 13th 2019, the live
Canadian Productivity Chart exhibits a slowdown.
"New lending activity and refinancing have contracted significantly since the beginning of 2018, a culmination of regulatory pressure, enhanced scrutiny following the banking royal commission, and the self-fulfilling consequence of slowing house prices driving an investor pullback... A rising cost of credit represents a blunter instrument for slowing lending, since it impacts both owner-occupiers and investors in parallel,"JP Morgan's Henry St John
that's not a quote about Canada;
but these are:
Canadian real estate sales are feeling the pinch of higher interest rates, and consumer credit isn’t far behind. Bank of Canada (BoC) numbers show household debt printed a new record high. Despite the record high, the rate of growth continues to slow for consumer debt levels. The decelerating growth is yet another indicator that the credit cycle has peaked. Better Dwelling, July 2018
Market Rate Outlook: One more hike this year plus two more hikes next year. The market is not fully pricing in the next BoC rate increase until December... Canadians are now more sensitive to higher rates than ever before. That means consumption is slowing faster with every 1/4% BoC rate increase. RateSpy.com Sept 2018
Canada's economy is set to slow down even with a NAFTA deal, economists say:
"Our research finds that even with a NAFTA deal in place, the long-desired rotation in growth towards exports and business investment will be sluggish and won't offset the coming slowdown in household spending and housing activity," Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets
Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, is also expecting growth next year to slow to 1.8 per cent, as reduced consumer spending and housing activity will weigh on growth.
RBC senior economist Nathan Janzen said the bank doesn't publish forecasts for 2020, but agrees that growth is shifting lower.
"We do expect a more modest pace of consumer spending going forward, and while housing activity should remain a contributor to growth, this sector as well should see more modest growth relative to the past," said Brian DePratto, senior economist at TD Bank.
Quote Sources: CBC News Sept, 2018
And as my long term chart study of Canadian Debt, GDP, Foreign Direct Investment and Balance of Trade shows, since the credit crash of 2009, Canadian's awesome consumption via debt has not led to higher wage employment production in Canada but to lower wage warehousing and transportation of goods and services that we import to maintain our lifestyles.
"The one-million square foot Toronto centre will be Amazon’s sixth facility in Ontario and ninth in Canada." Financial Post, July 2018
"Stabilization should not be interpreted as the start of another strong rally," they warned (TD Bank economists Derek Burleton and Rishi Sondhi). That's because mortgage rates are on the rise, and home affordability levels have reached their worst levels in a quarter century... in fact historical data shows that over the past half century, inflation-adjusted house prices in Toronto fell for about a third of the time. huffingtonpost.ca, Sept 2018
"While there is a lot of talk about how employment is becoming more temporary, this graph from joint work with Alex Thomson and Arthur Sweetman shows that the average time that the currently employed has been with the same employer has been almost constant at just over 100 months since 1976." Hat Tip to Macleans.ca
And for those of you who are under 40 years of age, you might end up changing employers 6 more times before you reach 70 years old.
That’s why, when you finance a real estate purchase, you should double check both your debt AND income amortization to see if they support each other.
If you have to move to a new city to get that better job, make sure your real estate asset can produce a net revenue stream.
Computer technology is already eating jobs and has been since 1990. To survive, get non-routine skill training. Thanks to Futurism.com for the chart below.
The Precarious Generation
In less than 2 decades we have gone from a country where the ability to easily change employment or one's residence has evaporated. Now we are pinned to our job and our postal code because leaving either results in lineups to fill our departure.
I suggest that both the opening of access to information via the internet and the collapse of bond yields sponsored and promoted by governments mirroring each other have left us with a country of over-consuming and under-producing populace.
My regularly updated Household Debt Chart includes the FDI-FDO plot which illustrates the point; we are a country of consumers highly prized by offshore producers, a situation that is now entrenched in our behaviour, modified by our regulations. Currently, for every $1.00 of Foreign Direct Investment into Canada, there is $1.27 of Canadian savings being invested offshore where the yield is greater.
The Paradise Papers underscores the problem; greater access to stealth information along with domiciled yield suppression has led to increasing capital flight by Canadians and Canadian corporations unwilling to invest in Canada. This and the vacuum created from interest rate suppression has turned a lot of us into serial house and condo flippers and the ease and return on investment has attracted a flood of offshore money wanting in on the fun.
Those of us who could not or did not participate in the mania have been left with the sorry reality that for the last 10 years, housing costs in the runaway markets have increased by 10-12% per year or more depending on location and product. Wages have not increased to the same degree but balance sheet debt to equity ratios have.
- CBC News November 23, 2017 - Canadian households lead the world in terms of debt.
- Toronto Sun July 2, 2017 - Canada's middle class shrinks.
- Market Watch November 3, 2017 - Blame the Internet for your stingy paychecks.
- Stats Can November 11, 2017 - Housing prices, social ties and transfer payments may inhibit mobility.
- Stats Can March 24, 2017 - Canadian waste management revenues increased 11% in two years to 2014.
- CHPC.biz Ongoing Chart - Foreign Direct Investment OUT higher than IN over the last 20 years means Canadian companies are investing outside of Canada to get a better return on Capital and Labour.
- CBC News November 6, 2017 - More than 3,000 Canadian names in the Paradise Papers.
Globe and Mail October 15, 2017 - The CRA is unable to identify the assignors who sell (flip) their contracts.
Millennials on Money: 'I am working two jobs right now’
CBC News - January 5, 2017
The worsening of (housing) affordability in Q4 (2016) was the sixth quarterly deterioration in a row, the longest run in almost 20 years. National Bank of Canada FEB 8, 2017 Report
My long term chart study of housing starts vs population growth currently projects a 7% Y/Y decrease for full year 2017.
This suggests that indeed more starts could be consumed especially in this low interest rate environment.
Unfortunately the market place is skewed not to what is needed, eg: affordable family units close to appropriate services, but to what attracts non resident owners, flippers and FOMO driven investors who keep throwing greater amounts of leveraged capital at negative yielding and depreciating piles of steel, concrete and wood while governments at every level stand by in fear that they might lose this historic bonanza of property tax and transfer revenue.
My too-far-left radical idea of ending private fee simple land ownership is never going to happen in my lifetime as written. It is my expression of the frustration one feels at the polarity of choice:
Most people are at best only aware of two choices, two patterns, for land ownership – private ownership (which we associate with the industrial West) and state ownership (as in the Communist East).
The Idea of Owning Land by Robert Gilman 1984
"We don't have a national housing policy in this country and we should," "We're probably one of the few OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries that don't have one."
TheTyee.ca June 2013
Budget 2017 includes new national housing strategy. Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau handed down a budget Wednesday, March 22 that includes a new $11.2 billion national housing strategy
Business Vancouver March 22, 2017
Meanwhile the market grinds on. I suggest that individuals should consider investment in themselves rather than negative yielding real estate because there is no guarantee that the debt positions currently being created will be transformed into equity. What is more enduring is the ability to leverage one's skill set into cash flow as the OECD studies show:
The evidence on how well countries are prepared for the digital economy is rather disturbing. The OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) suggests that more than 50% of the adult population on average in 28 OECD countries can only carry out the simplest set of computer tasks, such as writing an email and browsing the web, or have no ICT (Information and communication technologies) skills at all. Only around a third of workers have more advanced cognitive skills that enable them to evaluate problems and find solutions (OECD, 2013). As a result, many workers use ICTs regularly without adequate ICT skills: on average, over 40% of those using software at work every day do not have the skills required to use digital technologies effectively (OECD, 2016a). Skills for a Digital World OECD December 2016
The Premier of BC Christy Clark is in the news again with her pre-election enticement of no interest loans for 60 months of up to $37,500 to wannabe buyers who need a bigger cash down payment to qualify for a mortgage to purchase real estate in BC's absurd housing market that has been on ice since the summer. BNN Dec 16, 2016
The chart mashup above was prompted by an observation from a reader (S.B.) that the technical structure of the Vancouver housing market is now within momentum levels for a trend change to the downside as soon as the next retest and failure of the recent highs completes; the setup being the "anti-trade". S.B. made earlier observations here "3 Vancouver Views" Sept 2016 and "Simple as ABCD" May 2016; thanks SB.
The evidence of serious downward repricing has this provincial government attempting to goose the demand side of the market with free ZIRP money provided by you and me dear tax payer. Not only will we tax payers supply the down payments to people who don't qualify under the already sub prime CHMC lending standards, but we are additionally collectively subsidizing the banking and mortgage industry that has little or no lending risk and we are continuing to feed the provincial government tax collector via the property transfer tax. "In total the property transfer tax brought in $1.53 billion for the government, $605 million more than budgeted" said BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong CBC NEWS July 2016.
Ontario and Toronto are also implelled to goose the fence sitters into buying into the market:
Ontario land transfer tax rebate doubled to $4K for first-time homebuyers. City News November 2016.
Ontario’s land transfer tax rises from 0.5 per cent on the first $55,000 of a purchase price to two per cent for everything above $400,000. Toronto’s land transfer tax is one per cent on the first $55,000 and two per cent on the rest. Toronto offers rebates of up to $3,725 for first-time homebuyers.
Sousa also announced a freeze in the property tax on apartment buildings while the government reviews how the tax burden affects rental market affordability. (Will landlords pass this along to tenants?)
Political ideology at all levels of government since the post war "invention" of CMHC has destroyed any possibility of a social contract that includes affordable housing as a basic right of tax payers. It appears to me that governments at all levels in Canada will continue to promote and urge Canadians to add even more household debt to their balance sheets that are already at historic levels nationally and globally. Although the Federal Government appears on the surface to be more rational than the provincial governments by warning Canadians who already have high levels of debt, they are not concerned with Canadian Banks who continue to be sheltered by tax revenue from the private sector. What they are concerned with is a RECESSION and THEIR OWN FEDERAL CASH FLOW. Is it irony or finger wagging and buck passing? The government is hooked on the commodification of real estate; it's a cash cow with a golden udder of debt that we are all attached to.
Here is the Federal Government at work:
CHMC Promotions Oct 2016 by the Globe and Mail
- 1992 Allow RRSP withdrawals for home purchase.
- 1999 Allow purchase with only 5% down payment.
- 2003 Remove house price ceiling on insured mortgages.
- 2003 "Green" mortgage insurance premium reduction and environmental incentives.
- 2005 Self Employed can self declare a 15% gross up of income and access all mortgage insurance products.
- 2005 Amortization increased to 30 years on insured mortgages.
- 2006 Amortization increased to 35 and 40 years on insured mortgages.
Warning from the Bank of Canada:
Risk of household financial stress and a sharp correction in house prices.
Some notes from the Satyajit Das videos below:
- Real growth was produced from the Industrial Revolution.
- But since the 1980's, growth has been fuelled by debt.
- An asset's income should pay for its debt.
- In the 1950's $1 to $2 of debt paid for $1 of GDP.
- By 2007-2008, $4 to $5 of debt paid for $1 of GDP.
- China in 2016 needs $6 to $8 of debt to pay for $1 of GDP.
- In the 20th century, population doubled and was an organic driver of growth. Now population does not drive growth.
- Innovation contributes to growth but productivity is falling.
- Now we have a service economy not a productive one.
- Innovation rates are falling dues to lack of R&D funding.
- We cannot repay debt without growth.
Property is an illusion by Satyajit Das
The End of growth as we know it by Satyajit Das - Key themes of his new book "A Banquet of Consequences"
While we wait for the Clinton Trump toss up at Hofstra U. tonight, let's look at some data that affects everyone on the continent, ie: manufacturing wages measured in USD since the gloom of 2009 in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. I have been showing for some time now, that Canada's net Federal Direct Investment balance has been negative for nearly 20 years and last year it widened significantly.
The chart above shows that Canadian manufacturing wages have jumped 21% in the last 7 years while in the U.S. they have gone up only 12% and in Mexico they have DROPPED 7% to US$2.10 per hour. (no typo - that's US$2.10/hr)
Canadian households have become highly indebted (168% debt to income) via government insured credit and animal spirit peer pressure. The IMF has been sounding the alarm bell at least since 2011 "Households, however, already have done enough borrowing, at least when it comes to real estate. Any further buildup of debt only risks a painful collapse." That's what they said 5 years ago.
Canadians are just $200 away from being overwhelmed by debt, new survey finds Financial Post September 28, 2016
> Calgary-based MNP LLP, said 56 per cent of those polled — up from 48 per cent surveyed six months ago — are close to facing negative cash flow should they take on up to another $200 in monthly debt.
>The online survey of of 1,502 Canadians conducted between Sept. 6 and Sept. 12 also found 31 per cent are already not paying their bills on time, making them technically insolvent, MNP says.
> A survey this month from TransUnion found 718,000 Canadians can’t even absorb a 25-basis point increase in interest rates without being in a negative cash flow situation. One percentage point would drive 917,000 over the edge, the credit rating agency found.
> In another recent study, the Canadian Payroll Association said 48 per cent of Canadians couldn’t make ends meets if they missed just one paycheque – a dire picture of a country living paycheque-to-paycheque.
> MNP said there is some positive news about debt costs. More Canadians now say they are concerned about their debt: 52 per cent, up from 43 per cent six months ago.
The latest sales/inventory ratio suggests that the risk of sentiment change is occurring in Vancouver (not yet in Toronto); but our very high labour cost relative to our U.S. and Mexican trade channels is going to put pressure on the Bank of Canada and the Federal Government to let the CAD/USD continue dropping (Bloomberg May 2016) "Currency depreciations would help many of the U.S.'s G7 partners (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, & EU) a lot while hurting the U.S. little, if at all. In other words, a G7 currency war would be fine as long as the U.S. remained a pacifist."
A lower CAD/USD will help Canadian exporters to some degree but not enough to compete directly with Mexico and other low labour cost and low-bar regulatory regimes (China, Vietnam, Indonesia etal). A lower CAD/USD will also put more inflationary pressure on import costs into Canada reducing disposable consumer income that will affect consumption of domestic services including the demand for credit while debt repayment schedules may have to have their amortization terms lengthened especially if earnings growth slows.
ITEM: BlackBerry Abandons Its Phone New York Times September 28, 2016 - In recent years, BlackBerry has cut thousands of jobs and closed several operating centers, including one in this city (Halifax), over the last three years. A company spokeswoman declined to discuss any future layoffs.
A lower CAD/USD will not be favourable to the foreign buyers of Canadian real estate who purchased in the last 7 years if their own currencies do not drop as much as the CAD. Will they continue to hold a wasting asset that produces a negative cash flow?
The hysterical mania of buying real estate in Canada will come to an end when we see listing inventories rise, perhaps in 1Q 2017 if a shift from greed to fear manifests.
"Vancouver in Canada has been identified by Swiss bank UBS as the global financial center with the riskiest housing bubble."
"Currently, house prices in Vancouver seem clearly out of step with economic fundamentals, and are in bubble risk territory."
History, Charts & Curated Readings
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement; and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense
Balance Of Trade
Rent Or Buy