Who would have ever thought - Canadian banks now find themselves entering into the top 10 among North American lenders - measured by assets. Thanks to the collapse of some of the largest US institutions 4 of Canada's heavy hitters now round out the top ten, holding the 7th - 8th - 9th and tenth positions according to Bloomberg News. This bodes well for the stability of our banking system in a time when some are considering buying real estate but are still a bit shy as to the stability of our lenders and/or the local real estate market.
It's almost impossible to keep up with who has bought whom and which of the American lenders are no longer. Names so familiar are now disappearing or being merged under attempts to stem the economic tide. Lehman Brothers - under bankruptcy protection - JP Morgan purchasing Bear Stearns - Merrill Lynch bought by the Bank of America. It goes on and on....
Quite a contrast here in Canada as - reported by the Globe and Mail - some of our banks are turning down the funds being made available to them - a great sign they are weathering the storm that continues to blow down south. As well Canadians have yanked their money out of the equity markets and are now placing them in bank-based savings accounts - leaving banks a ready supply of cash for lending.
What does this mean for the real estate market in Vancouver ? In the last 4 weeks - this credit that is still available is being sought out by first time home buyers - who have had enough of renting and in combination with record low interest rates - are finding this current environment simply too good to pass up. There is sufficient stock now on the market in the lower or starter price ranges and we have actually encountered multiple offer situations on some downtown properties. There is only one option once you see rental rates approaching the same numbers as a mortgage payment - most are moving on to purchase.
If you are at all considering a first time buy - be prepared. Get a pre-approval, start looking, get yourself a realtor and be ready once you see that property that suits your current and/or future needs. You can be sure of one thing - you will not be the only one waiting on the sidelines for that "perfect" place.