Thursday, November 27th0.1°C
24124
23088

Forget about a crash, Conference Board gives housing market clean bill of health

OTTAWA - The Conference Board isn't buying the notion that Canada's housing market will suddenly crumble, saying the most likely outlook is for a modest decline nationally and in some specific markets.

The Ottawa-based think-tank argues in a comprehensive new look at real estate in Canada that the conditions for a crash simply don't exist, despite numerous reports that the market is overbuilt and overvalued.

Rather, the report argues that with the possible exception of Toronto, housing starts the past three years have been roughly in line with the 20-year average.

Even in Toronto, there is only a "borderline" case that it could be overbuilt.

"At this point in the housing cycle, there is a risk that Canadian housing prices in some market segments are due for a modest correction," the report states.

"Nevertheless, we believe that continued population growth, additional employment gains and modest mortgage rate increases will limit potential price declines in 2014 and 2015."

There is a case for more dramatic price adjustment further out if higher mortgage rates start crimping affordability, the Conference Board says, but even then it is likely to be a soft rather than a hard landing.

In recent years, some economists and international organizations such as the OECD, the IMF, Deutsche Bank and The Economist magazine have described Canada's housing market in stark terms, characterizing it as among the priciest in the world based on historical averages and other metrics.

But the consensus of economists within Canada has tended to be more subdued. Last week, the Canadian Real Estate Association also predicted a slowdown as mortgage rates start edging up later in the year, but it still saw the market overall growing in 2014 and 2015.

The Conference Board says fears of a housing bubble about to burst in Canada are exaggerated.

It says some of the evidence cited by correction hawks, including comparing home prices as a multiple of rental costs, don't take into account historically-low mortgage rates that keeps affordability steady. Citing Toronto, it notes that in 2013 mortgage payments consumed less than 20 per cent of average household income, the same as in 1993.

"Mortgage costs, not just house prices, are the principal deciding factor for potential homebuyers," says Robin Wiebe, the think-tank's senior economist.

Even when mortgage rates do start rising, the Conference Board believes it will happen gradually and over an extended period. For instance, it forecasts rates with only a gain of 200 basis points — two percentage points — by 2017 or 2018.

But at current low rates, the typical homeowner on a posted five-year rate will have paid down $42,104 principal on a $100,000 in mortgage debt, so affordability won't be seriously impacted once it comes time to renew at a higher rate.

The Conference Board provides an outlook on six major cities:

— Vancouver: Moved back into balance last spring. Recent price gains will give way to slower advances in 2014.

— Calgary: A approaching sellers' conditions, noting strong price gains last year.

— Edmonton: Balanced, with brisk resale and price growth activity last year.

— Toronto: Balanced with healthy price growth. A major correction is difficult to see given solid employment and population growth.

— Ottawa: Market cooling due to falling employment from the government sector, flatter sales and tempered prices.

— Montreal: Flirting with buyer's market conditions with sales and average prices having dropped somewhat last year.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23457


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14922.44-115.97
S&P CDNX755.45-15.61
DJIA17827.7512.81
Nasdaq4787.317+29.065
S&P 5002072.83+5.80
CDN Dollar0.8813-0.0005
Gold1182.40-14.20
Oil68.89-4.80
Lumber327.90-1.60
Natural Gas4.295+0.144

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.15-0.01
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.340.00
Cantex0.04-0.005
Anavex Life Sciences0.171-0.004
Metalex Ventures0.04+0.005
Russel Metals30.70-0.80
Copper Mountain Mining2.12-0.04
Colorado Resources0.13+0.01
ReliaBrand Inc0.0134-0.0001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.045-0.005
Mission Ready Services0.32-0.02

 
24130


24053

FEATURED Property
20713141124 Lynn Court, Kelowna, BC
3 bedrooms 3 baths
$579,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Second marriage issues

It is not unusual that one or both of the parties planning to marry are approaching marriage for the second time. There are pluses and minuses to this new situation. On the plus side, individuals ente...


The last great Canadian tax shelter

A guide to how flow-through fund limited partnerships can mightily aid your tax planning!The end of the year will raise concerns among many professionals, self-employed persons, business owners and ev...


What I learned in China: Part 2

As per my previous article on my visit to China, we have much to learn about and from their people. It is potentially the largest market on earth with 1.3 billion people in one country but much will d...

_



24231

24231


Member of BC Press Council


23087