Morning Briefing: Seattle benefits following Vancouver tax change

by Steve Randall18 Nov 2016
Seattle benefits following Vancouver tax change
A tax on foreign home investors introduced in Vancouver in August has given a boost to Seattle’s housing market.

Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty in the city says that it has seen a surge in home sales to clients from mainland China since August but the additional tax isn’t the only thing driving buyers south of the border.

“For now, Chinese Nationals enjoy 10-year multi-entry visas into the US as well as opportunities for EB-5 investments that can lead to US citizenship,” said Dean Jones, President & CEO of RSIR. “We anticipate these programs will remain in place but it’s too early to tell. Global wealth seeks financial safe harbor and sudden policy changes in China and Canada, in part is what diverted demand here in the first place.”

While the potential of changes to immigration policy could follow Donald Trump’s election, buyers do not seem to be overly cautious about how things could affect them.

“My clients don’t seem too concerned with radical changes in the trajectory of investment or immigration into our region – they may even be more inclined while current policies permit it,” said RSIR broker Robert Pong. “The more immediate concern is the continued devaluation of the Yuan against the US Dollar – Chinese investors continue to seek exchange hedge investments in residential real estate."
 
Mortgage rates jump
The post-election sell-off of Treasury bonds has caused a spike in mortgage rates according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The average rate for a 30-year FRM with an average 0.5 point rose to 3.94 per cent this week, from 3.57 per cent a week ago. For 15-year FRM’s the average was 3.14 per cent, up from 2.88 per cent while 5-year ARMs with an average 0.4 point increased to an average 3.07 per cent from 2.88 per cent.

“If rates stick at these levels, expect a final burst of home sales and refinances as 'fence sitters' try to beat further increases, then a marked slowdown in housing activity," commented Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.
 
Wells Fargo awarded for diversity
Wells Fargo Home Lending has been given the first of a new award by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association. The Diversity & Inclusion Award reflects the lender’s outreach efforts in the mortgage market.

"These awards recognize the importance of embracing a diverse and inclusive real estate finance industry," said MBA Chairman Rodrigo López, CMB, Executive Chairman of NorthMarq Capital and the previous Chairman of MBA's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Wells Fargo Home Lending has developed and sustained broad comprehensive strategies over the past several years to make sustainable homeownership possible for low-to-moderate and minority customers. 

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