Thursday, January 17, 2008

10 Reasons why It's a bad time to Buy in Alberta

A lot is happening around us at this time in the financial markets that will probably impact consumer psychology.

But here are some 'micro' level reasons why it’s a bad time to buy in Alberta right now:

1. High levels of inventory and it’s only January. Sales to new listing ratios at close to several year lows.

2. Clear pattern of falling sales and prices.

3. Historically poorest levels of affordability.

4. No shortage of land.

5. No shortage of building materials and falling prices of timber.

6. With impending recession, shortage of labor to ease in a few quarters.

7. Rampant speculation in the market causing significant deviation from the ‘normal prices.’

8. It costs two to three times (or even more) to own a property versus renting it.

9. Negative Interprovincial migration.

10. Potentially significant problems with the economy ahead leading to uncertainty and less than confident prices.

And the wild card, that no one even wants to talk about because of the new era, peak oil, ‘Chindia’ demand and so forth:

11. Oil prices (the last ‘bull argument’) may fall below levels of ‘profitability’. Or Alberta oil might run into some type of environmental issues. Of course, the oil argument is to a very large extent a red herring in the real estate context, but still those going by the following equation may have to think:

Alberta Real Estate Prices = N*Oil Price

For those getting into a 30/35/40 year mortgages to buy an undersized cardboard box that is overpriced by at least 100k, THINK.

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