Days ago the realtors’ national body said sales in June crawled higher from May, and were a little less than last June. Here is how it was reported by the MSM:
- Residential real estate heat up in June (Global)
- Canadian housing market rebounds in June (CBC)
- Canadian home sales improve in June (Canada NewsWire)
- Foreigners still see bullish on Canadian Real Estate (Wall Street Journal)
- Home sales bounce back, but a rate test lies ahead (Globe)
- Canadian home sales inch upwards (Toronto Star)
- Calgary price growth for repeat home sales among best in Canada (Calgary Herald)
Well, you get the picture. The house-pumping never stops. And as more media outlets lose money and fire reporters, press releases from outfits like CREA or Royal LePage become news stories, with headlines and bylines slapped on. That suits the realtors just fine. But the death of journalism, as we knew it, robs people of dissenting or differing voices, making life more dangerous.
Here are a few things an informed public should know, in random order.
Sales of houses are not higher than last year. They’re lower. The 240,068 units which changed hands in the first six months of 2013 is 7% less than during the same period a year ago. The statistics in the second half of the year will be, in comparison, dramatic. Anyone thinking they’re safely buying into a rising market is being deceived.
In the prestigious and expensive Oak Bay area of Victoria, 14 houses sold in the most-active price range of $500,000 to 900,000 last month. So far this month (and 17 days have passed), there has been one sale. Asking prices are dropping on a wide range of properties, in some cases, dramatically. A year ago I wrote a column here on a day-long tour I had of luxury homes listed for well over a million. Almost all are still available, or have been taken off the market. Others have been reduced in price by over $400,000, and still sit.
In Nova Scotia, sales are down from this time last year by almost 30%. On one day this week (Wednesday), here was the province-wide tally: New listings – 124. Price reductions – 97. Solds – 39. These numbers could not be worse for sellers. For buyers they’re flashing yellow. Caution. More troubles ahead.
Across Ontario, the mortgage business appears to be in serious trouble. Look at the chart below. Online mortgage applications have crumbled to levels not seen this century. Not hard to see why the big banks are exiting the mortgage brokerage business, and how much of a realtor-based lie it is that F’s financing reforms a year ago had little effect.
Speaking of realtor-provided data, GTA broker Ross Kay sends along this comment on CREA’s latest numbers: “It should be reported June was the 11th consecutive month of declining 2013 to 2012 comparisons in national MLS data, as released by CREA to the media. Although CREA has not disclosed the actual declines, which are far greater, the fact is even CREA itself has noted declines for the last 11 months. When July numbers are released and an even bigger percentage decline is seen, it will mean 12 months of consecutive declines.”
And if real estate’s doing so well, why are governments paying people to buy it?
Winnipeg is the latest city to give away money in order to encourage people to purchase homes that apparently can’t sell on the open and free market. Peggers will soon see $2.5 million of their property tax money handed over in $10,000 cheques to anyone buying a new condo in the northeastern part of the downtown. All purchasers of a new, unsold, previously-unoccupied unit will be eligible for a completely forgivable loan of ten grand, on condition they own it for five years and don’t try to flip the property.
Meanwhile, this is what Winnipeg realtors have been telling citizens:
“Our recent weather has reheated sales to equal the June 2012 statistic” said Richard Dettman, president of Winnipeg board. “2012 was one of the best years on record and repeating this mark is no mean feat.”
So which is it? Local realtors enjoying ‘one of the best years on record’, or tax dollars being used to prop up a failing market?
Well, I cannot remember a time when deception was so everywhere, with so few in positions of influence seeming to care.
There will be consequences.