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Bank of Canada Hold Key Rate “household debt” remains biggest risk

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada kept its key interest rate on hold Thursday, as expected, but said while the outlook for the Canadian economy has “marginally improved,” household debt “remains the biggest domestic risk.”

The central bank acknowledged, in the statement accompanying its rate decision, that “heightened uncertainty around the global economic outlook has decreased,” since its monetary policy report in January.

“With tentative signs of stabilization in European bank funding and sovereign debt markets, conditions in global financial markets have improved and risk aversion has decreased,” it said.

“However, the global economy is still expected to grow below its trend rate as the deleveraging process in advanced economies proceeds.”

The Bank of Canada said the outlook for the domestic economy “is marginally improved” since its January report. “Although the economy will likely grow faster than forecast in the first quarter due to temporary factors, underlying economic momentum remains around trend, balancing domestics strength and external weakness.”

As for inflation, the bank said “the profile . . . is somewhat firmer than previously anticipated as a result of reduced economic slack and higher oil prices.”

“After moderating in the second quarter, total inflation is expected, along with core inflation, to be around 2% over the forecast horizon, . . . “

The central bank has held its benchmark lending rate at a near-record low 1% since September 2010, in an effort to bolster the economic recovery from the 2008-09 recession.

But cheaper borrowing costs — especially for mortgages — have led to record high consumer debt. Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, along with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, has urged consumers not to borrow beyond their needs, as interest rates will eventually begin rising again.

“Canadian household spending is expected to remain high relative to GDP as households add to their debt burden, “which remains the biggest domestic risk,” the bank said Thursday.

The Bank of Canada’s next interest rate decision will be on April 17.

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CANADIAN HOME BUYERS ACADEMY

Working For You!

 

 

Are you interested in making some cash when you buy or sell your next home? Maybe you simply want to learn more about Real Estate in Canada? Have You been looking for general information on buying and financing a home but cant seem to find the information in one specifac place that has consistent information.  Take a good look at this program, I think you will find alot of great information and tools for you to use.

I am proud to be a part of this worthy and valuable program.

Go check it out here http://www.canadianhomebuyersacademy.ca

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TD, RBC End 2.99% Mortgage Deals Early

After a crazy month fielding calls about rates and competitive rates from the major banks, they have put a hault on them.  Although the product that were attached with them were limited and badly disclosed to consumers, there are still amazing rates to be had in the mortgage market.  The problem with banks is that they can choose to give one rate today and a different rate tomorrow.  All I can suggest be informed and do your homework and ask questions when shopping for a mortgage.  Its not always about rate its about having a mortgage plan that suits your needs and someone that can show you ways to save money on your mortgage long term!  If your interested in learning more about how to save money on your mortgage , no tricks no catch good ole information for you from me  http://bit.ly/AfD2RR    Here’s the article below;

After briefly offering record-low rates of less than 3% on some of its mortgages in response to its rivals, Canada’s two biggest banks have pulled back their offers prematurely.

Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canada’s second-largest bank, raised its special four-year closed fixed rate mortgage 40 basis points to 3.39%, effective Wednesday, while also introducing a special five-year closed fixed rate mortgage at 4.04%.

The bank also hiked its five-year closed mortgage 10 basis points to 5.24%.

TD had said it would offer the special rates until Feb. 29.

The moves put TD back in line with Royal Bank of Canada, which made the same rate decisions on Monday, coming into effect Wednesday.

RBC had also initially planned to keep its special rates available until Feb. 29

 

The only difference is RBC already had the special five-year closed fixed rate mortgage product, which it increased 10 basis points to 4.04%.

RBC had first cut its rate to 2.99% in January in response to a similar cut from BMO.

Matt Gierasimczuk, a spokesman with RBC, said the bank had to end its special prematurely because of rising funding costs.

“Our long-term funding costs have gone up considerably due to global economic concerns and, while we have held off in passing on these rate changes to our clients, it is now necessary for us to increase this mortgage rate,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Monday.

With household debt-to-income ratios at at historic highs and still on the rise, the Bank of Canada has repeatedly voiced its concerns over the past year that Canadians are living beyond their means.

“We have expressed on numerous occasions our concerns about rising household indebtedness,” senior deputy governor Tiff Macklem said in a question-and-answer session following a speech in Toronto Tuesday. “The simple fact is that consumers are consuming more than they’re earning.”

With files from Reuters and Bloomberg News

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Bank of Canada Hold Key Rate

Best be getting used to this: Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of Canada, has again maintained interest rates at 1% and remains on track to not budge from that position any time soon as upside and downside risks remain balanced amid moderating growth.

This marks the 11th straight time the central bank has held rates at the 1% level, since a 25 basis point increase in September 2010. Since 2000, the bank has employed eight fixed dates a year when it makes decisions on the key rate. Economists expect the bank to keep interest rates at current levels until as late as next year.

The bank’s statement contained a few contradictions: It says the last quarter was stronger than expected, but growth in the future will moderate. Yet the economy will return to capacity quicker than expected.

Huh? Here are the main takeaways from the bank’s statement:

Canada muddles through, more or less

The overall outlook for the Canadian economy remains “little changed” from the bank’s October monetary policy report, with “more momentum than anticipated in the second half of 2011,” but comments Tuesday show a mixed picture with growth “expected to be more modest than previously envisaged.”

On the one hand, the bank has pushed up the schedule for the economy to return to full capacity by one quarter, to the third of 2013, and projects growth of 2.0% in 2012 and 2.8% in 2013 based off 2.4% growth last year. “While the economy appears to be operating with less slack than previously assumed, given the more modest growth profile, the economy is only anticipated to return to full capacity by the third quarter of 2013, one quarter earlier than was expected in October,” he said.

On the other hand, Mr. Carney expects the pace of growth to be more modest than previously thought, largely due to outside factors. “Prolonged uncertainty about the global economic and financial environment is likely to dampen the rate of growth of business investment … Net exports are expected to contribute little to growth, reflecting moderate foreign demand and ongoing competitiveness challenges, including the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar,” he said. Of note, the loonie spiked to a two-week high against the greenback earlier Tuesday.

Household debt still a problem

“Very favourable financing conditions are expected to buttress consumer spending and housing activity,” he said. “Household expenditures are expected to remain high relative to GDP and the ratio of household debt to income is projected to rise further.” The Bank of Canada has been harping on this for a while, but the conditions created by the lengthy low interest rate environment have led Canadians to borrow and spend. Debt-to-income ratios have hit repeated record highs in the past few years, and the trend is expected to continue.

If not hawkish, at least less dovish

The outlook for inflation remains stable for now, with dynamics similar to those in October, but Mr. Carney characterized the inflation profile as “marginally firmer.” Inflation is expected to slow in 2012, before rising again to 2% in the third quarter of 2013 as excess supply is absorbed, wages grow modestly and expectations remain anchored. “Several significant upside and downside risks are present in the inflation outlook for Canada. Overall, the bank judges that these risks are roughly balanced over the projection horizon,” he said.

Europe: Still a big mess

“The sovereign debt crisis in Europe has intensified, conditions in international financial markets have tightened and risk aversion has risen,” Mr. Carney said. “The bank continues to assume that European authorities will implement sufficient measures to contain the crisis, although this assumption is clearly subject to downside risks.” Children, of course, already know the schoolyard rhyme about what happens to “U and Me” when you assume anything.

The rest of the world: Not much better

“The outlook for the global economy has deteriorated and uncertainty has increased,” the bank said. In the United States, while the GDP rebound in the second half of the year was a welcome surprise, the bank remains bearish on the pace of growth in 2012 due to household deleveraging, fiscal consolidation and spillover from Europe. Chinese growth is also slowing as expected, to a more sustainable pace. Commodity prices, except oil, are expected to be below levels forecasted last October at least through to 2013.

Financial Post

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No BoC rate hike until Q1 2013: poll

No BOC rate hike until Q1 2013

A deteriorating European economy and weak global growth will keep the Bank of Canada from raising rates for at least another year, though an interest rate cut looks highly unlikely, according to a Reuters survey.

The Reuters poll of 41 economists and strategists released on Tuesday showed the median forecast for the next interest rate hike was pushed back by three months to the first quarter of 2013 from the fourth quarter of 2012 projected in a November poll. The Bank of Canada’s target for the overnight rate — its main policy rate — has been at 1% for more than a year.

“The longer we spend struggling with slower growth and the longer we go without the Europeans coming to some cohesive policy solution, the worse the economic drag will be,” said David Tulk, chief Canada macro strategist at TD Securities.

“You get the sense that growth I think is likely to remain lower for longer, just like interest rates.”

Investors in the first quarter of 2012 are expected to focus on the heavy supply of eurozone debt coming due, with fears about a possible lack of demand at auctions. Italian and Spanish bond sales in particular are viewed as the next big tests.

 

Some Canadian economic data has also been worrisome. A Bank of Canada business survey on Monday showed an increasing number of firms are pessimistic about the rate of sales growth, further reducing pressure for the central bank to take interest rates higher.

The most recent domestic jobs report also disappointed, reversing a trend that saw Canada outperform the United States both during and after the global financial crisis.
Monthly employment data on Friday showed Canada missed forecasts while the U.S. beat them. This gives the Bank of Canada even less impetus to tighten policy before the U.S. Federal Reserve, which has said it expects to keep its key interest rate near zero through mid-2013.

But many analysts expect an even longer pause, and bet the Fed’s next move will be to stimulate the economy, rather than tighten monetary policy.

“If the Fed comes out with its published interest rate forecast at the end of the month and says the consensus points to an even longer hold than the middle of 2013 then that could handicap the Bank of Canada to an even greater extent,” said Derek Holt, vice president of economics at Scotia Capital.

Yet many analysts say the case for an interest rate cut is difficult. Governor Mark Carney has repeatedly warned about the dangers of Canadians borrowing too much as a result of very low interest rates. Data last month showed the level of household debt swelled to another record high in the third quarter.

“A cut in the policy rate anytime in 2012 is extremely unlikely. It would take a global recession of 2008 proportions for the BoC to even consider cutting policy rates,” said Carlos Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities in Montreal. “In our view, 1% is the new, effective, zero-bound.”

Of the 41 contributors, 35 see a rate hike happening after the second quarter of 2012. Five forecasters — BNP Paribas, Capital Economics, Goldman Sachs, IFR Markets and ING Financial — predicted a rate cut across the forecast horizon, up from only three forecasters in the last poll. All five expect the cut by mid-2012.

The possibility of an ease has been anticipated in overnight index swaps for some time, though the timing has been pushed out.

Forecasts for official interest rates at the end of 2012 also dropped from the previous poll — with the median target declining to 1%, from 1.25% in November — indicating one less rate increase next year than was previously assumed.

Interest rate expectations for the four quarters of 2012 have been downgraded continuously in all nine global Reuters polls conducted since last January, with the target for the first quarter of 2012 revised down to 1% from 2.25%.

The poll showed a 99% probability there won’t be a change in rates at the next policy announcement on Jan 17.

 

© Thomson Rerters 2012

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BC Assessment Sends Out 10,000 Extreme Value Change Letters for 2012

A majority of homeowners in British Columbia won’t know what has happened to their property value over the past year until they receive their annual BC Assessment notice in early January 2012.

Each year, BC Assessment sends out Property Assessment Notices on December 31 for nearly two million properties in British Columbia. Local real estate sales determine the property values that BC Assessment reports based on a market value approach with a July 1 valuation date.

However, some BC property owners have received an early indication of what to expect when BC Assessment releases their 2012 Assessment Roll figures on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

On December 5, 2011, BC Assessment sent out approximately 10,000 “Extreme Value Change” information letters to BC property owners where the assessed value of their property increased by 30% or more above their local area.

These BCA information letters are sent to property owners as part of the pre-roll consultation process for significant value change where the assessed value of a property increases more than the average increase in an area.

“Generally speaking, for property owners whose 2012 assessments have increased 30% or more above the average increase for their local community, we have provided advanced letters informing them of this change,” said Tim Morrison, Communications Coordinator for BC Assessment, in an interview with BuyRIC.com.

“For example, if the average market increase for a specific property type within a specific jurisdiction was 5% and your property increase was 35% or higher, then you would likely receive an advanced letter.”

This advanced information indicates that approximately 10,000 BC property owners across the province will see a 30% or higher than average increase in their 2012 assessment notices.

The most significant 2012 property assessment increases in British Columbia occurred in Vancouver. BC Assessment sent out approximately 1,800 of these “Extreme Value Change” letters to Vancouver property owners and approximately 800 to the North Shore, including West Vancouver and North Vancouver property owners.

BC Assessment 2012 Roll - Extreme Value Change Property Letters

Morrison added, “We provide impacted property owners with advanced notification in order to make them aware that the change will likely result in an increase in their 2012 property taxes as determined by their local municipality.”

“We want to ensure that people know that they can contact us, so that we can work with them in explaining our market analysis techniques used to assess their properties.”

BC Assessment serves to ensure accurate, fair, and equitable annual assessments throughout British Columbia. Local governments and other taxing authorities are responsible for property taxation and, after determining their own budget needs in the spring, will decide their property tax rates based on the assessment roll for their jurisdiction.

These “Extreme Value Change” information letters are part of BC Assessments “no surprises” focus to engage BC property owners and local governments on changes that might have a big impact on property valuations.

Ongoing audits, reviews, and market analyses are part of BC Assessment’s quality assurance commitment to property owners.

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Bank of Canada hold key rate steady

Bank of Canada Keeps Key Rate Steady

As expected by most economists, the Bank of Canada announced earlier today that it is keeping its key policy rate steady.

In its statement the Bank noted that it expects “growth in Canada will be slow through mid-2012 before picking up as the global economic environment improves, uncertainty dissipates and confidence increases.”  The Bank also projected today that the Canadian economy “will expand by 2.1 per cent in 2011, 1.9 per cent in 2012, and 2.9 per cent in 2013.”

The prime rate at most lenders will stay at 3.00%, which means those with variable-rate mortgages will still enjoy relatively low rates.  A new variable-rate mortgage can in many cases be obtained by qualified borrowers at Prime minus 0.20% – 0.40%  Home equity lines of credit and variable-rate credit cards are also typically linked to the prime rate.  The pricing for new fixed-rate mortgages is influenced by trends in the bond markets, rather than the central bank’s key policy rate.

The Bank’s next rate decision is scheduled for December 6.