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Is it True that “There is No Canadian Housing Market?”

4 April 2013

Real estate guru and founding partner of Real Estate Investment Network (REIN), Don Campbell, has recently said something very interesting, noting that “there is no Canadian housing market.” And while at first you may want to point out all the ebbs and flows this so-called market has been through in the past two years, once you look deeper at what he’s saying, you might just find yourself agreeing with him.

Campbell recently stated in an interview, “There is no Canadian housing market. At no other time in history has the real estate market in Canada been so regional. If you go to Hamilton, that market is strong. But in Waterloo the market is starting to slow down, even though the cities are only half an hour apart. And what’s going on in Ottawa has nothing to do with Halifax.”

So what’s his point? That the housing market is local, and that homeowners – and home buyers as well as sellers – need to remember that. And maybe relax a little about the cooling “Canadian housing market.” Because really, right now there is no such thing. No matter how much the media wants to blow it out of proportion.

“You see these reports saying: ‘The average Canadian real estate price is 20 or 25 per cent too high,'” he continued. “And that may be true in pockets, such as the luxury market in Toronto, it’s not true elsewhere.”

Campbell, who calls Fraser Valley in B.C. home, says that Alberta is one very good example of this, and that the province is going to be booming in the next few years, while perhaps many other areas of the country are still trying to get a grip on the cooling that’s occurring.

“Alberta’s population is growing substantially, especially with that younger age cohort. They come out here to get a job and make $80,000 instead of $30,000 back home. And once they’re here, they discover Alberta is a pretty cool place to live,” he says.

“But it takes awhile for that to kick in, often about two years. So I’m very bullish on the direction that the market is going to be taking over the next portion of the cycle, say the next three, five, or seven years.”

But one couldn’t say that for Toronto, or worse yet, for Vancouver, who’s likely still going to be climbing down from their all-time high prices, trying to get those sales back up to the same levels. It may sound crazy but maybe this is, as Mr. Campbell has pointed out, the one time in Canadian history when there really is no Canadian housing market.

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