Canadian real estate prices are growing to comical levels, as bad policy stacks up. U.S Federal Reserve data shows real adjusted home prices increased at double the pace of the U.S in Q3 2020. As big as the gain is, it’s one of many times Canadian real estate prices have outperformed the U.S. home prices. In fact, it’s now at the point where Canadian prices have grown 25 times faster than U.S. home prices since 2005.
Canadian Real Estate Prices Were Up Over 8%
Canadian real estate prices made a massive jump last year, despite the pandemic. Real home prices increased 2.93% in Q3 2020, from the previous quarter. This brings annual gains 8.27% higher than the same month last year. Across the country, prices have doubled since 2005, and that’s after adjusting for inflation. One note worth taking away is, almost half of the gains occurred in the past 5 years. That’s a very rapid acceleration, even before considering the other half of the growth took twice as long.
U.S. Real Estate Prices Were Up Over 3%
U.S. real estate also made substantial gains over the past year, but it doesn’t look like much compared to Canada. Real prices increased 0.81% in Q3 2020, making them 3.45% higher than a year before. Across the country, prices are only 3.96% higher than they were in 2005, in real terms. In other words, prices have been moving largely with inflation over the past few decades.
Canadian Real Estate Prices Have Grown 25x Faster Than U.S. Prices Since 2005
The consistent growth without correction over nearly two decades has disconnected the two. Canadian real estate prices didn’t just see double the growth over the past year. Since 2005, real estate prices have grown over 25.31 times faster than U.S. real estate prices. This is not a normal trend.
Canadian and U.S. Real Estate Prices
An inflation adjusted index of Canadian and U.S. real estate prices.Source: US Federal Reserve, Better Dwelling.
Canadian real estate prices historically have moved in line with U.S. prices. From 2005 to 2020, real prices in Canada increased over 25 times faster than U.S. prices. Before 2006 though, they largely moved around the same pace, with exceptions in 1980 and 1990. At the time, these periods were “new paradigms,” but subsequently found to just be bubbles. The recent home price acceleration is so large though, many people find it hard to believe a correction is possible.
Most people think of Canada’s recent real estate price surge as a long-term trend. However, almost half of the price gains occurred over a period only a little longer than a single political term. It might seem like forever for some people, but it’s just a fifth of a mortgage amortization. Cheap credit and policy to preserve (and inflate) prices hasn’t lasted this long before. That doesn’t mean it won’t last, it just means there’s no historic precedent. It’s not clear if this establishes a new paradigm though.
In the early 90s, the U.S. attracted young Canadian professionals looking for a better balance. Recently, Canada’s young people have been de-urbanizing due to high real estate prices. If both of those trends occur, will Canadians continue to pay premiums solely due to cheap credit?
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