Friday, February 15, 2008

Some headlines for you

"Country's housing price growth cools off"
CBC News, February 15, 2008
By 'cool off', they mean a price increase of only 8.6% from last year. However, not in Vancouver. We were up 10.8% over last year's average sale price, bringing us up to $588,183. I assume that's the average including condos & detached homes in the city of Vancouver. Now, I'm not an economist & have yet to figure out why they'll say 'slowdown' or 'decrease' when the numbers seem to indicate increases, but isn't an increase of 10.8% pretty damn good?

"The great boom is winding down"
Globe & Mail Report on Business February 15, 2008
Same numbers as most other articles, with a slightly more pessimistic interpretation: a slowdown. When I hear any word with 'down' in it, I get a little knot in my stomach, but slowdown doesn't mean the prices will actually go down. I have to stop & remind myself that it just means they will stop skyrocketing.

"Housing is healthy"
National Post, February 9, 2008
The headline's nice & everything, but the --- was really reassuring: "CMHC: Real estate investment is still wise across Canada". I admit, it crossed my mind a few times that if the real estate market actually did tank after we'd bought, we could be rather screwed. There would have to be a HUGE slump for us to end up with a mortgage higher than the value of our house, but it would really suck to lose equity.

I'm not really worried about a slump though, because the only people I can find saying that it's coming are generally self-proclaimed experts on real estate who are holding off on buying until everything becomes magically affordable. When I read their blogs, or talk to them in person, they often seem to overgeneralize too: reading housing stats for Canada & expecting Vancouver to follow suit.

If the last few years of weirdness in following the housing markets across Canada have taught me anything, it's that every city is a totally different ballgame. So many cities have skyrocketed, while others are stagnating. Look at housing prices over the last year in Regina (+24.9%), Edmonton (+21.5%), Saskatoon (+45.1% for a new house), Montreal (+4.1%), Toronto (3.4%). five years ago Regina & Saskatoon weren't on anybody's radar when it came to housing prices. You could have bought a house for less than an SUV around Saskatoon a few years ago.

"Real estate affordability to improve, experts say"
National Post, February 12, 2008
This article predicts housing prices to level off, more or less, & interest rates to continue falling. Sounds great to me! With a floating rate mortgage, I'm happy to see a downward trend when it comes to the cost of borrowing.

"Relax, the sky's not falling"
Globe & Mail Report on Business February 15, 2008
While not specifically about real estate, this is a heartening one. Everyone who thought Canada was tied to the US as it was falling off the bridge is realizing that either the cord is very long, or it's more psychological than real. As the US economy flounders in the havoc that the greedy mortgage lenders & naive home-buyers have wrought, Canada's doing... fine, thank you very much.

I think I'll leave off at that. So relax, all you Chicken Littles out there.

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