A blog taken from renowned Canadian author and real estate guru Garth Turner's website..
He tells it like it is.. I tend to like that..
We were told the banks were the strongest in the world, and yet Ottawa found it necessary to give them a $75 billion bailout. Also telling is the fact three of the Big Six – including our largest bank, RBC – are out flogging new stock right now to raise more money, despite a terrible environment on Bay Street.
We were told the value of our homes would keep on rising, that the US real estate meltdown would pass us by. The Canadian Real Estate Association said this, and bank economists, Canada Mortgage and Housing and most urban real estate boards.
But real estate sales have fallen as much as 70% in major cities, and average prices have plunged up to $175,000 in Vancouver, $56,000 in Calgary and $45,000 in Toronto. Buyers are staying home as sellers flood the market, ensuring more price drops.
We were told the economy was strong and would stay in positive growth, boding well for jobs. And yet last month we lost more than 70,000 in a single four-week period. The central bank slashed interest rates to the lowest point since the 1950s in panicked reaction, and the car companies teetered on the brink of collapse.
We were told Canadians were safe, and our households were far less indebted than those to the south. And yet today the Bank of Canada is raising the awful spectre of widespread anguish, as more and more families face losing their homes. “With household balance sheets under pressure from weak equity markets, softening house prices, slowing income growth, and record high debt-to-income ratios, a severe economic downturn could result in a substantial increase in default rates on household debt,” the bank says. If this happens, it adds, so much for Canada’s ‘strong’ banks. “Should this scenario materialize, the banking sector would suffer significant losses from the rising vulnerability in the household sector.”
More importantly, why has this information been kept from Canadians for the past critical months? Wouldn’t a warning have helped us all give more attention to personal debt levels, to paying off mortgages or, especially, to avoid walking into new debt at absolutely the worst time?
* Bring in zero down payments and 40-year mortgages at the wrong time, turning a good housing market into an unsustainable bubble.
* Cut the GST, rather than income tax, in order to encourage consumer spending, despite rapidly rising debt and a national savings rate of nothing.
* Run a federal election campaign on purpose before the economy falters badly, then lie to voters about what to expect.
* Take $75 billion in ultra-safe government securities which were backing our currency and use that to buy high-ratio mortgages from the banks, without disclosing this to Parliament.
* Bring in an economic statement that cuts spending when every other government in the world is scrambling to try and prevent deflation and a collapse.
* Shut Parliament.
For More Garth visit GreaterFool.ca