There’s a comedic line that goes, “it’s like deja-vu, all over again.” And maybe that’s appropriate as we continue to watch the national real estate market as a whole.

Here we are a little more than a year after local and national markets each took their respective nosedives, and in most of these same markets, we’ve seen a return to pre-October 2008 values, if not growth (in some cases record growth) above and beyond previous levels.

In fact, a recent Scotiabank report is suggesting Canada may once again be on the verge of another housing bubble. Now, at the time I composed this article, I went online to Scotiabank.ca and searched through their latest media releases and the link for this latest report was yet to be published. But according to a recent CBC write-up , Scotia’s economic experts say the signs are pointing towards a housing bubble of national proportions.

One statistic that jumps out for me is the report’s claim that Canadian real estate prices have jumped an average of 86% over the last decade. This is based on comparing current and past prices but it’s still an impressive number. Housing prices seem to have ‘weathered the storm’ and remain stronger than ever. And Scotiabank economists seem to think this will be how things stay for at least several years to come.

The report says Toronto and Vancouver have helped lead the way when it comes to this overall real estate boom. I’m inclined to think Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Ottawa can’t be too far behind either, since all 5 of these larger centres have seen prices rise significantly, and the average and median price (especially in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver) return to or surpass some 2007 & 2008 levels.

The article is quick to remind us the Bank of Canada (BOC) seems to be holding steadfast to its pledge to keep interest rates the same until at least Q3 of 2010. And a quote from the Scotia report says, “low interest rates are driving healthy affordability right now, but this effect will wane in the next two to four years.”

On a micro-scale, I’ve said, since September of ‘08, that if real-estate supply remains the same or lowers (this means that we don’t suddenly get an influx of new listings on the market) we’d see another rise in average and median prices. Low and behold, that’s been the case over the last year – and it’s also the case on the national level. Supply of homes on the market seems to be limited and that’s creating increased demand for what’s available – thus inflating real estate prices as well.

Also, as the article mentions, and something I’ve talked about before, innovations in the mortgage market, adapting to the economic conditions of the time, have brought more buyers into the market – especially in the last 5 years. Apparently the Scotia report outlines 18% of Canadian mortgages are amortized for periods of longer than 25 years. 10% are amortized for over 35 to 40 years.

And the report seems to suggest we won’t see a slump in values or this ‘real estate bubble,’ as it were, anytime soon. It seems to show that, if anything, we’ve learned from the mistakes of our counterpart to the south, and the U.S. subprime crisis which helped drive one of the worst economic recessions in history, will not be associated with any sort of risk or ‘bursting of the bubble’ in the future.

Does this surprise you? What do you think? Send me your comments

Mark Fidgett | 604-273-2002


Mark Fidgett
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An independent Mortgage Specialist associated with the Verico Mortgage Network.