Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Canadian Real Estate Among World's Most Overvalued

Overvalued real estate markets in Canada and elsewhere show an "unhappy resemblance" to the conditions that existed in America prior to the financial crisis, according to The Economist, showing that homes are at least 25 per cent overvalued in the Great White North and eight other countries.

One of the reasons was that low interest rates were driving up the housing market since the 2008 financial crisis. Consumers thus had an easier time borrowing money, which also contributed to rising household debt-to-income ratios.

Analysts have long predicted that Canada could be headed for a housing crash. Capital Economics in May predicted a 25 per cent drop in prices over the long term, having observed slowdowns in areas such as Halifax, Winnipeg and Victoria.

Canadians’ real-estate exuberance may be fading

The share of Canadians who predict home prices will rise over the next six months fell to 38 percent this month, the lowest since April, according to Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index. The Nanos survey found 48.1 percent of respondents predict prices will remain unchanged, the most since February, and 11.5 percent forecast a drop, matching the average this year.

Home sales and prices had shown unexpected strength as the lowest mortgage rates in decades spur demand. Forecasts for housing starts were raised to the highest this year in monthly Bloomberg News surveys of analysts taken this month. 

The Canadian Real Estate Association said home sales rose 1.8 percent in August from July, the seventh straight monthly gain, led by sales in Toronto and Vancouver.