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By Jay Bryan, Special to Gazette February 15, 2013 8:04 PM

 

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/homes/Bryan+housing+numbers+point+soft+landing/7973381/story.html#ixzz2L1fXbpfN

 

 

MONTREAL — For more than a year, there have been two competing narratives about the future path of Canada’s high-flying housing market: total collapse and moderate decline. The moderates, if we can call them that, still seem to me to have the better argument, especially when you consider the unexpectedly upbeat housing resale figures last month.

 

Friday’s report from the Canadian Real Estate Association demonstrates that national home sales continue to be significantly lower than those of a year ago, but that virtually all of this decline happened abruptly last August, reflecting a tough squeeze on mortgage-lending conditions in July by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Since then, however, there’s been no further month-to-month downtrend, notes CREA chief economist Gregory Klump.

 

Prices, which don’t necessarily track sales right away, have also weakened, but less. While sales are down five per cent from one year ago, average national prices are actually up by three per cent, as measured by the CREA Home Price Index. However, this year-over-year price gain has slid gradually from the 4.5 per cent recorded in July.

 

What’s the bottom line? In my opinion, it’s that the catastrophist scenario detailed not just by eccentric bloggers but also in national newspapers and magazines, looks increasingly unlikely.

 

That’s not to say this outcome is utterly impossible. At least one highly regarded consulting firm, Capital Economics, has been predicting for two years that this country faces a 25-per-cent plunge in average home prices. This is the kind of drop — almost comparable to the 30-per-cent-plus crash in the U.S. — that would probably trigger a bad recession, especially in today’s environment of subdued economic growth.

 

David Madani, the economist responsible for this frightening prediction, understands the housing numbers very well, but he simply doesn’t share most other analysts’ relative equanimity about what they mean.

 

Yes, Canada’s banks are financially stronger and more prudent in their lending than their U.S. counterparts, he acknowledges, and yes, there’s little evidence of the fraud and regulatory irresponsibility that worsened the U.S. catastrophe, but he sees the psychology of overoptimistic buyers as uncomfortably similar. What looks like enormous overbuilding of condos in the hot Toronto market help to make his point, as does the still-stratospheric price of Vancouver housing.

 

Madani certainly has a point, but the countervailing evidence seems even stronger.

 

A key example is the behaviour of Canada’s housing market over the past six months. The latest squeeze on mortgage lending, the fourth in five years, is also the toughest, points out economist Robert Kavcic of BMO Capital Markets. It drove up the cost of carrying a typical loan by nearly one percentage point, or about $150 a month on a $300,000 mortgage. And as this shock was hitting the housing market, Canada’s employment growth was slowing.

 

In a market held aloft by speculative psychology, it seems very likely that such a hammer blow would bring about the very crash that pessimists have been predicting. Instead, though, the market reacted pretty much as it had during previous rounds of Flaherty’s campaign to rein in the housing market, notes Derek Burleton, deputy chief economist at the TD Bank.

 

Sales dropped moderately, but the decline didn’t feed on itself as it would in an environment of collapsing speculative hopes. Instead, the market proved to be rather resilient, with sales plateauing and then actually rising a bit in January. Burleton, along with Kavcic and Robert Hogue, an economist at the Royal Bank who follows housing, believe that we’ve already seen most of the market downside that will result from Flaherty’s move.

 

Jay Bryan: New housing numbers point to soft landing

 

This doesn’t mean that the market is out of the woods. It’s still overvalued, not hugely, but by something like 10 per cent, Burleton estimates. But moderate overvaluation can persist for years unless the market is hit by some shock to incomes or interest rates.

 

While there’s no agreement on the path prices take from here, some of these analysts think they’ll drift down slowly, maybe three to eight per cent over a few years. At the same time, rising take-home pay will be shrinking the amount of overvaluation, creating a more sustainable market. Let’s hope they’re right.

 

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© Copyright © The Montreal Gazette

 

 

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/homes/Bryan+housing+numbers+point+soft+landing/7973381/story.html#ixzz2L1ew0d8Y

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Cet article a été publier avant le crash immobilier au States

 

pourtant on sais ce qui est arrivé ;)

 

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15198805/

 

 

en même temps, pour retarder ou évité un crash, il ne faut pas créer la panique, donc il faut dire que tous est correct et que ça va se faire en douceur et de ne pas s'en faire ...

Edited by Davidbourque
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