Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Is Alberta isolated from rest of the world?

As the markets tumble across Canada and the US and the sub-prime meltdown continues, and the US readies for a recession, we should pause for a moment and think whether any of these events are likely to have any meaningful impact on Alberta's real estate.
The 'specuvestors' will continue to believe that Alberta is different and in its own league and the entire world wants to live here and oil prices will always remain high. Their arguments may have had some merit if the market were playing on some fundamentals. As I've mentioned a number of times before, for a market that is no longer connected to fundamentals (300x monthly rent is the typical valuation these days in Alberta), any change in the underlying fundamentals simply won't matter. At least in the short run in which the real estate market has acquired a momentum of its own.
I think this market is driven a lot more by speculation, easy credit, equity locusts from BC, lure of easy money, fear of being priced out than by oil prices or trade/mcjobs. I also suspect that it will be the BC Real Estate market that will soften and then fall before Alberta experiences any real weakness.
If the MSM in Canada start talking about a US recession and a consequent Canadian recession, the falling housing market in the US, a lot of people are going to get worried. And I don't think very many Canadian banks will continue to dole out those 40 year zero down mortgages for too long.
A bull market that took over ten years in the making won't change direction or even weaken overnight.
And I will try my best to be around when all this unfolds-not so much for Schadenfreude
but for the experience it is going to provide to any observant student of markets.
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