Yes, markets change and so do ‘expert opinions’. And what a difference just a few days can make! Housing markets change at such a glacial pace that they miss out on the exciting daily ups and downs of the stock market, but the flip side is that once they start to slide it can take years for them to hit bottom. You don’t have to look further than our closest neighbor to the south to see an example of this slow downward slide.
This gradual change makes it all the more remarkable that a local housing market ‘expert’ would be singing two different songs within the space of just a few days. Thanks goes to Condohype for pointing the evolving marketview of Cameron Muir:
- “There is no indication, at this point, of any kind of substantial decline in prices,” Cameron Muir, Friday, July 11 2008
- “It is perfectly reasonable to expect home prices will stay fairly flat or even decline a couple of per cent a year until affordability picks up.” Cameron Muir, Tuesday, July 15 2008
Skeptics take heart, because I already know what you’re thinking – its the wonders of vague wording: a couple of per cent does not equal a ‘substantial decline’, so this is not a reversal. And maybe you’re right, except there’s this small point: how many years do we have to suffer declines of ‘a couple percent’ until ‘affordability picks up’? Particularly with a global economic slowdown, a local economy coming off a boom and new mortgage rules that require more fiscal responsibility from buyers? Would a sharp shock to the market that quickly restores ‘affordability’ be a worse scenario than 10 years of slow equity leakage?
In June the REBGV benchmark price for a house dropped by about $5500 to $765,654. From that starting point a drop of just ‘a couple percent’ is a loss of more than $15,000 a year. Of course now that these predictions appear to be changing on a weekly or even daily basis, perhaps we’ll be hearing about the next leg up soon.
Thanks again to Condohype for the tippage.