Several ‘market influencers’ have kept the reins on the expected Alberta real estate boom, says a new report on the housing market.
The report, by Don Campbell, senior analyst and founding partner of the Real Estate Investment Network, said debate is raging about why the market isn’t booming like it did in 2006 and 2007 when the job market and population in the province were growing at the same rates as they are today.
“The real difference this time is hidden in the strong forces of today’s market influencers. It is very true that the market drivers are all in place to support a large growth in housing purchase demand and price increases, in fact it is a textbook market for a boom,” said Campbell.
“In Alberta, the GDP and job growth have driven very strong population growth which has led to low vacancy rates not experienced in this province for many years. Street rents are jumping due to the rental supply/demand inequality. So, on the surface that means Alberta should be experiencing another one of those unsustainable booms. Well why isn’t it? And is there one still in the works?”
He said certain wild cards can throw a market off its prescribed cycle for periods of time.
“So, despite all of the market drivers being in place to push the Alberta real estate market into its next boom cycle the market continues to underperform its economics. Why? Simply, there are market influencers in play and that is why we are not yet seeing the expected rush into the market demand,” he said.
They include the once-bitten, twice-shy attitude equating into a local lack of confidence in the market. Many Albertans made their first home purchases during the previous boom. They were hit hard when the financial crash came. This has tempered enthusiasm for the market now.
Tighter mortgage qualification rules have also tempered market demand.
Overall consumer confidence in real estate is taking a hit with many recent reports and headlines on the state of the Canadian market saying it may be over-priced or overvalued.
A large portion of Alberta population growth is from two key demographics who are less likely to buy a house immediately — immigrants and ‘Echo-boomers’.
“The underlying economics and Market Drivers state that the market should be on fire, just like it was back in 2006 and 2007 – that is unless you begin to factor in these influencers,” said Campbell. “Let us make sure we are analyzing today’s markets with today’s conditions and not compare them to previous boom-bust cycles. Each cycle has its own influencers that either heat up or cool down a market and this current cycle from 2006 until today is the perfect proof of that.
“As long as the drivers are strong, the market is structurally strong, no matter what the influencers are doing. The concern should arise when the drivers are weak and the influencers are pushing the market upwards with no support. That is not what is happening in Alberta right now; in fact, the drivers remain strong despite the headlines.”
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