Oneangryslav wrote this in the comments:
Crazy bull anecdote of the day (week?):
My brother lives in North Burnaby in the area bounded by Hastings and Parker, Willingdon and Gilmore. His neigbhour a couple of doors down (whom both he and I know as we played soccer on the same youth team) many years ago) tore down a nondescript bungalow and built himself a large house. Almost to the day of the one-year anniversary of the place having been completed this friend is sitting at home watching television early in the evening (this happened a couple of weeks ago), when he hears the doorbell ring. He opens it to find a gentleman standing there asking if the house was for sale. The friend asks sarcastically “do you see a for sale sign?” “No”, responds to (as it turns out) real estate agent. The real estate agent continues, “would you be willing to sell it, anyway?”
The friend thinks about it for a second and says “sure, the price is $1.3 million dollars” thinking that would scare the real estate agent away. Anyway, long story short, the real estate guy goes to his car to call someone, comes back and says “okay!” Now my brother thinks that his home is worth about a million dollars.
Crazy! I’m going to get in touch with our friend to find out more of the details.
Until renters can take out a mortgage to pay their rent they’re limited by income to how much they can pay. This is different than buying because mortgage rates and easy credit can change ‘affordability’ enabling people to take out larger loans and ‘afford’ higher prices.
Since rent tends to be more stable and directly related to the local income it puts a theoretical ‘floor’ on how far house prices can fall. As soon as it’s cheaper to buy than rent you should have investors who can do math buying up property.
Of course there are other complicating factors: psychology, ease of credit and liquidity.
Bloomberg has an interesting article looking at the situation in the USA after their housing bubble popped.
Many people who are technically homeowners are really renters. They put little if anything down. In many cases, the equity is negative when, for example, home-improvement loans piggybacked on first mortgages and brought total indebtedness to more than 100 percent of the house value. Many also planned to refinance their mortgages with cash-outs due to appreciation before their mortgage rates reset upward or, in some cases, even before they skipped enough monthly payments to be foreclosed.
It’s easy to be in a negative equity situation if you buy at the peak with very low down payment.
Of course it’s different in Canada right? The CMHC even introduced rules in 2008 eliminating zero down payment mortgages and now requires everyone to put down a huge 5% down payment..
So now we call it a ‘cash back mortgage’ and there are so so so many ways you can get a zero down mortgage in Canada today and be on your way to negative equity!