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How Would the U.S Market Crunch Affect Canadian Real Estate in 2008?

Blog by | February 3rd, 2008

How Would the U.S Market Crunch Affect Canadian Real Estate in 2008?
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The market crisis along the south border has many homebuyers wondering how it will affect the housing market in Canada, but Canadian market analysts feel the problems the U.S. is experiencing should have little impact on real estate in this country.

Canada is not expected to experience the same downturn as the U.S. market for many reasons. First, the Canadian economy is simpler and the investment environment is more conservative than the United States. Secondly, Canadian federal surpluses have given consumers more confidence which has led to increased spendings on homes, retail goods, and business expansion. Additionally, the Canadian housing market has not been artificially driven by bad lending practices. And, unlike the U.S., all mortgages in Canada are insured.

However, Canada’s booming housing market could loose heat by the end of the year. The impact of the U.S. sub-prime crisis is expected to be felt by Canadians in three different ways:

First, a tightening of credit markets will occur as lenders move to correct their losses because of the investments in commercial papers. To borrowers, this may also mean smaller discounts off the posted mortgage rate.

Secondly, due to the overall economic impact and the soaring Canadian dollar, the impact will also be felt. There may be a slowdown in some business sectors related to housing and that may impact Canadian consumer confidence.

Thirdly, the impact on our economy could come form the falling purchasing power of the U.S. consumers, which in turn impacts large ticket purchases that involves Canadian made products - the auto sector is a good example.

"The Canadian housing market will slow down a bit in 2008, but that slowdown will be nothing compared to what happened in some U.S. markets in 2007. In Canada, the housing market has been setting records for volume and units sold for five consecutive years. We believe things are just moving back towards a more "normal" growth pace, but that still means the 2008 MLS® home sales activity will be the second highest on record, second only to the overall record was set in 2007.", says CREA's Chief Economist.

CREA's market analysis for 2008 also does not show any dramatic adjustment in the average MLS® residential price, again contrary to the conditions in some U.S. markets. CREA's analysis shows prices setting new records in every province in 2007 and in 2008, but price increases will be smaller in 2008. In effect, price increases will become smaller as the resale housing market becomes more balanced. Manitoba and Nova Scotia are expected to post an increase in average price of 7 per cent or more in 2008, while New Brunswick and Newfoundland are expected to show the smallest increase in average price of 4 per cent annually. The national average residential MLS® price is expected to increase 5.5 per cent.

"The housing market is expected to grow at a more moderate pace this year. However, this will be the result of decreasing affordability rather than the impact of U.S. sub-prime woes", said Craig Alexander, deputy chief economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

To conclude, markets will remain tightest in the western provinces in 2008. Even though Alberta and British Colombia are expected to pull back from the blistering pace they set earlier in 2007, housing there will remain in high demand. The days of 25 or 30 per cent increases in average price are over, but prices are forecasted to go up in Alberta and British Colombia by 5.2 and 5.1 per cent, respectively. Ontario's market and other eastern provinces are expected to keep its momentum with a slight slow down.  


Alexandra Rebagliati
MacDonald Realty
Cell: 250.870.2792

Kelowna Mountain