Canadian Housing Market Bursts…Investors In Alberta Laugh All The Way to The Bank

Should continued talk of a Canadian housing bubble push the pin in till it bursts, it is still unlikely to deflate Alberta’s strong commercial real estate market or investors returns. Here’s why…

Even in the U.S. not all markets were hit simultaneously when the foreclosure crisis began and some strongholds have still failed to feel the hit, while others have already rebounded. All real estate is local, even within a single country, province or city. However, there does seem to be important lessons from our neighbor’s woes we are ignoring.

The first and most obvious is of course that fear spreads and often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Second, government intervention to slow things down was paramount in the collapse of the United States’ housing market back in 2005. Canada’s moves to tighten mortgage lending to curb borrowing and home sales, including the OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions) regulation of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. do have the potential to wreak havoc among residential markets. While perhaps not so significant to Calgary and Edmonton, Toronto is a prime candidate for a crash landing. With already more than 5 years’ worth of condo stock and building surging in Toronto and experts warning of a 10% overpricing of residential properties for some time the city can’t expect to ride out any slowdown or tightening in credit unscathed. The good news is that tougher times for Toronto mean more eastward migration of jobs, population and cash. This will move to soak up any slack from a nationwide move to slow housing, keeping Alberta’s real estate markets strong but healthy.

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More retailers with billion dollar research budgets continue to choose Edmonton every day. They are finding far better spreads here between rents and sales than in any of Canada’s other popular destinations and can easily afford any slight tightening and rising commercial real estate prices. Tag, Simons and David’s Bridal are just some of the new brands moving into town. Apple even just moved to double the size of its largest Canadian store in the West Edmonton Mall. Investors could certainly do a lot worse than to follow Apple’s winning strategies. It doesn’t take Steve Jobs to see how undervalued Edmonton retail properties are either. It is certainly tough to beat even on a global scale for value and outlook.