Historically cheap money helps keeps Vancouver housing market afloat

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      There's no shortage of doomsayers when it comes to Canadian housing markets.

      One of the foremost voices predicting a correction has been Evan Siddall, president and CEO of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The federal agency that he heads has forecast a fall in prices of between 9 and 18 percent.

      But a recent report from rennie intelligence, the Vancouver-based research arm of a large marketing firm, says there are many reasons why the housing market remains buoyant.

      In July, the rennie review notes, housing sales in the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver surpassed the 3,000 figure for the first time since June 2017.

      In the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, which includes Surrey and Langley, sales crossed the 2,000 mark in July for the first time since June 2017.

      What gives? How do more than 5,000 housing units change hands in the wake of the greatest economic slowdown of our lives?

      According to rennie intelligence, one reason is cheap money. It's possible to lock in a mortgage for five years at 2.14 percent. And in some cases, buyers can obtain an even lower rate.

      Then there are those equities. The report points out that the S&P 500, a broad measure of U.S. companies, has fully recovered from the bear market in March. And the NASDAQ Composite Index has surpassed its prepandemic high.

      Then there's all that pent-up housing demand—the equivalent of 11,000 unrealized sales in the first six months of the year, according to rennie intelligence.

      Moreover, its report notes that Metro Vancouver has regained nearly 120,000 jobs over the past two months.

      "Together, these factors have stabilized the housing market in the face of a widespread, policy-driven economic downturn and are likely to continue to do so in the coming months," it concludes.