Wednesday, December 06, 2017

More important than affordable houses for the young, is for them to afford houses.

A letter sent to The Globe and Mail (not published)

The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) has joined UN Rapporteur in recognizing Canadian Human Rights-Based Approach to Housing. When it refers to the creation of safe and affordable housing during the next 10 years for the Canadian population most in need, such as women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, persons with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues and veterans, I cannot but concur.

But, it also makes reference to “young adults” and, in this, as a grandfather of two Canadian girls, I must raise my hand to argue that much more important than allowing the young adults affordable housing, is allowing them to afford houses.

Currently, because banks are allowed to leverage more with “safe” residential mortgages than with loans to the “risky” entrepreneurs who stand a better chance to create the future jobs our young need; and banks therefore earn higher risk adjusted returns on equity with mortgages than with loans to entrepreneurs, Canada, like all countries using the Basel Committee’s risk weighted capital requirements for banks, has put the horse before the cart.

PS. Not sent to The Globe and Mail: What would the price of a house be if there was no financing available to purchase these? Of their current price how much is represented by the intrinsic value of the house, and how much is a reflection of all one-way-or-another subsidized financing allocated to that sector? The sad truth is that our society has ended up financing the financing of houses. When all that low risk weighted mortgaging comes home to roost in a subprime unproductive economy, it will be hellish

PS. Chinese money: What’s the problem with Chinese freezing some of their wealth in Canadian real estate? What’s important is what those selling that real estate do with the money. Or not?

Research project: How much in the current house prices can be attributed to the market having priced in all preferential treatments the society has awarded the financing of houses… like the low risk weights in the risk weighted capital requirements for banks?