Daily Market Update

Pay down my mortgage? I’d rather take a vacation!... Condo market spike in Toronto… Vancouver on target for record-breaking building permits… And Chinese investors increase foreign property purchases…

Daily Market Update
Fewer Canadians paying down their mortgages
A new CIBC poll finds there has been a significant decrease in the number of Canadians using the low interest rates to pay down their mortgages faster.  While over half of Canadians with mortgages (55 per cent) are taking one or more actions to pay their mortgages down sooner, a similar poll last year had the figure at 68 per cent. However, while the numbers increasing payment value or frequency has dropped, there is an increase in the numbers making a lump-sum repayment. The new report also says that Canadians are expecting to 58 years old before they are mortgage-free.  So, if we’re not paying down out home loans, where is any spare money going? The report has shown a large increase in spending on home renovations (up 30 per cent) and vacations (up 20 per cent). "A mortgage is the largest debt most Canadians will take on in their lifetime, and being mortgage-free is an important goal for many," says Barry Gollom, Vice President, Secured Lending and Product Policy, CIBC.  "With current low interest rates, this may be an opportune time to make progress against your mortgage - even a few small changes can make a big difference in the length of time it takes to pay off your mortgage and the amount you pay in interest charges."

Toronto sees condo sales spike
Quarter 2 was a good period for sales of condos in Toronto, driven by supply. Figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board show a 10 per cent increase in Q2, following a 9 per cent annual gain in Q1. The average selling price was up 5.6 per cent to $367,010. Investors account for around a quarter of the purchases as the rental market is hot in the city but there has also been a shift in choices made by those with young families and baby boomers , who along with professionals are opting for condos as a more affordable purchase than single-family units. Read the full story.

Record building permits issued in Vancouver
Building permits were issued in Vancouver for property valued at $1.12 billion in the first half of this year. That’s the best half-year figure since before the recession hit in 2008 and the full-year is set to break the $2.6 billion record of 2012. Half year totals have been above a billion dollars for the last three years and this latest number sees a 6.4 per cent increase on last year. There is a lot of construction in Vancouver and some expensive property pushing the permit values higher, including the Pacific One tower, valued at $87 million. Read the full story.

Chinese investors stepping up their foreign real estate portfolios
The Chinese government has been trying hard to boost the country’s economy and has been generally successful, except in real estate. Even with a targeted mini-stimulus for the housing market there, prices are still falling. Chinese investors have been keen purchasers of foreign property for some time, but the weak domestic market is increasing their demand for overseas real estate. While many seek high-end property in London, New York and Sydney, there is also much interest in Canada’s biggest cities. Investment in holiday homes is also a growth area for China’s richer citizens. Of course, as they have seen in London, growing levels of foreign property investment has not helped ordinary families in the city, as prices have got hotter. Read the full story.