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- Canadian manufacturing sales fell 1.5% in September, while retail sales slid 0.5%. This suggests that momentum in the Canadian economy is slowing and the handoff to the fourth quarter will be soft.
- Existing home sales rose 1.8% in October, bringing sales back to the peak reached earlier this year. The story is quite regional, with Ontario and B.C. leading the way.
- Headline inflation remained at 1.0% y/y in October, while core inflation was unchanged at 2.1% y/y.
Source: TD Ecomomics
The latest quarterly report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has some market watchers seeing red. But the agency points out its market assessment is an early warning signal and not a sign of a housing bubble that is about to burst.
The report indicates there are signs of over-valuation in 11 of Canada’s 15 major markets. Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Regina all come in as “code red” for strong indications of problematic conditions.
Among the factors CMHC monitors are price acceleration, job and income growth, and overbuilding. The agency says it wants to promote stability by advising buyers, lenders and builders when a market is out of sync with economic fundamentals.
Montreal showed a moderate risk of over-valuation due low growth in first time buyers, weak income growth and a glut of unsold condos.
Vancouver – by far Canada’s priciest market – along with Calgary and Edmonton came in with low risk factors. Changes in those markets are in line with the local economies.
From: First National Financial LP
The household debt to income ratio has hit an all time high – 165%. Yet the Bank of Canada seems to have gone strangely quiet on the subject.
Former bank governor Mark Carey routinely warned of the potential dangers brought by the lure of low interest rates, especially in the housing market.
Recently, though, new governor Stephen Poloz told a banking audience in Washington that it is not the Bank of Canada’s job to fix bad debt decisions made by consumers.
It is useful to note how the central bank views its own job. Poloz says lenders, and borrowers themselves, are the first line of defence against bad debt decisions. He says bank’s job is to manage inflation and the main tool for doing that is interest rates.
The Bank of Canada cannot separate the low interest rates meant to inspire business borrowing from the low rates that are fuelling the real estate boom.
Poloz does say, though, that the Bank of Canada is keeping a very close watch on those household debt levels.