Garry Marr writes about the situation in Alberta over in the Financial Post. The drop in oil prices has hit their economy first and hardest with sales down by 30-40% over a year ago and growing listings.
So how do you prepare for a surprise economic hit like that?
Simple. Save up to cover for job loss, keep your debts and bills manageable and don’t get into a situation where you have to sell when everyone else is selling.
Unfortunately Canadians aren’t doing so well on the debt front:
Debt reached an all-time high in the fourth quarter, relative to income. Statistics Canada says the debt to disposable household income ratio is 163.3%, much of it attributable to housing costs.
Read the full article here.
Well well, look at that, you made it to the end of another work week.
This is Friday and that means it’s time for another Friday Free-for-all, our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the the weekend.
Here are a few recent links to kick of the chat:
–Can the industry police itself?
–Ultimate buy / rent calculator
–Boom a bust for heritage buildings
–Canada job market not quite best
–Leaving the city for better economics
–Is the worst over for Looney?
So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!
Are we the home of the worlds biggest housing bubble?
That’s what they’re saying over at the Atlantic.
How real is Canada’s housing bubble anyway? More real than any other country’s.
As realtors like to remind us, every market’s different, but there are three big takeaways here.
1) Rich Chinese buyers tend to make for overheated markets. Some of the priciest housing markets in the world have one thing in common, besides low-interest rates (which prevail most everywhere): Chinese expats. Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney are among the most popular destinations for wealthy Chinese looking to hedge their bets, and this exit-strategy buying has helped push prices in these locales into the stratosphere.
2) Housing busts can take awhile. After a decade of boom and bust, prices are back to fair value, below it actually, in the U.S. and Ireland, but still have a way to come down in Spain and Britain. Zombie banks tend to be reluctant to realize losses on bad loans, propping up prices in the process, but eventually reality has its day. The sooner that happens, the sooner housing, and construction, can come back.
3) Housing recoveries can take even longer. It was just 20 years ago that the land below the Imperial Palace in Tokyo was supposed to be worth more than all of the land in California combined. But beware the enduring costs of bad macro policy. Too tight money for too long has kept housing prices in hibernation decades on.
Here’s a nice article that should reassure you.
The housing market in Canada is forecast to fall, but not crash like in the US.
In fact the first three paragraphs each repeat that this will NOT be like a US style crash.
Canadian housing prices will fall 10% over the next several years and homebuilding will slow sharply in 2013, but the country’s recent property boom is not expected to end in a U.S.-style collapse, according to a Reuters poll.
The survey of 20 forecasters published on Friday showed the majority believe the Canadian government has done enough to rein in runaway prices, preventing the type of crash that has devastated the U.S. market for years.
“This isn’t a sharp correction, this isn’t a U.S.-style correction, it’s just simply an unwinding of the excess valuation that was created by artificially low interest rates for a long period of time,” said Craig Alexander, chief economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.
“I would emphasize that while a 10 % correction sounds scary, in actual fact, this would be a healthy outcome.”
Just a gentle feather slowly drifting to the safety of the ground.
Read the full article here.
Happy day after the new mortgage rules come into effect!
Even before these rules were announced we saw a ‘softening’ in the Vancouver real estate market.
Prices have drifted down as of late and sales are at an all-time-low and inventory keeps growing.
..Yet there are still those that believe ‘it’s different here’.
We saw housing bubbles grow all around the world and pop one by one, but we went through the same steps of pumping up cheap credit to build the house of cards higher.
Check out this post on Alphahunt about Why a Crash in Canadian House Prices is Certain.
What’s amplified our current RE cycle is that credit was steadily made cheaper & easier throughout the boom period – and especially when the RE market suffered in 2008. After finally waking up and seeing the monster they helped create, the Gov’t is making lending rules stricter. Lending practices should not have been made so loose to begin with. And their meddling in 2008 only delayed the inevitable bust.
Today, we’re still at extreme unaffordability and there is no such thing as a ‘soft landing’ or ‘small correction’ for Vancouver RE. Any asset that has seen a price rise of at least two standard deviations above long-term valuation ratios has always mean reverted. If the Vancouver RE market did not return to the normal multiple of income and rent, it will be the first time in history. You can’t binge drink and avoid the hangover. Timing the start of the hangover is always challenging, but what we know with high probability is that there will be a hangover.