Daily Market Update

Brokers sceptical over CMHC foreign ownership data
Brokers have been quick to react to new CMHC data on foreign ownership of condos. The report says that contrary to popular belief the figure for Toronto, where foreign investment is most prolific, is only 2.4 per cent; Vancouver is 2.3 per cent; and Calgary is just 0.2 per cent. Most of the comments to Mortgage Broker News are dismissive of the figures with methodology in collecting the data being called into question. It’s the first time that CMHC has included insight into foreign ownership in its twice-yearly Rental Market Survey. Read the full article.
 
Rental vacancies increase but still tight in many areas
Apart from foreign ownership data the other story from the latest CMHC Rental Market Survey is a slight uptick in vacancies in the rental market. In the 35 largest metropolitan areas the vacancy rate was 2.8 per cent, up from 2.7 per cent a year earlier. The data shows that there was an increase in inventory of 2.7 per cent but that has been swallowed up by rising net migration and a high level of students. The availability of property varies widely with Saint John and Moncton having a vacancy rate of around nine per cent, while Calgary has a 1.4 per cent rate and Vancouver just one per cent. The survey also covers condominium apartments offered for rent in 11 large urban centres, including Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal and reveals that rental condo vacancy rates ranged from a high of 3.4 per cent in Montréal, to a low of 0.7 per cent in Vancouver.
 
Harper says the budget will still balance despite lower oil revenues
Prime Minister Stephen Harper reassured Canadians that the federal budget will balance, and tax measures and spending plans will remain despite the lower oil revenues. Speaking to reporters yesterday, he said that the short-term fiscal flexibility may be tighter but apart from that it’s business as usual.
 
Housing starts fall in the U.S.
Construction of new homes south of the border fell in November, chiefly due to lower demand for single-family homes. The U.S. Commerce Department says that there was a 1.6 per cent decline in housing starts following a 1.7 per cent rise in October. Single-family home construction was down 5.4 per cent while apartments were up 6.7 per cent. Building permit applications were also lower, down 5.2 per cent month-over-month. The U.S. housing market has had a tough year and the industry is hoping that improving optimism in the economy together with continued low interest rates will help to create a steadier position in 2015. 

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