Recently I went to a PHP programming conference in Chicago, Illinois and was able to sit next to a Canadian businessman on our flight home. We discussed many things and some how we ended up on the U.S housing bubble.
“How much have homes appreciated in value where you live?” I asked.
“Well, I sold a home in early 2000 for about $180k” he started. “Now that same home, with maybe $300k worth of upgrades would go for $700k-$800k”
Uh oh, I thought strike one
I proceeded to tell him about Bend and how at our height, the median was around $400k.
“What is it now?” he asked.
“Well, I think last month the median was around $180k”
The businessman sat there, mouth agape, stunned.
“Glad that isn’t happening up north, I’d be in trouble. I think homes in Canada are going to just level off in large YoY appreciataion because they were so cheap before”
strike two I thought.
“Well why couldn’t it happen with Canada also?” I asked directly.
He looked at me, and with conviction, said “Well, Canada is different…” and proceeded to tell me how.
Strike three I thought this thing is toast
And then today I read this article from mish
Imagine, 68% of your disposable income being spent on housing costs with the remaining disposable income likely being spent on their favorite Top Ramen and KD dinners. This is insane as well as unsustainable. It’s funny that many Canadians seems to think that the 49th parallel has magically created immunity from a housing bust that in their minds is exclusive to the United States. I can’t tell you how many times friends and acquaintances say that Canada’s banks are sound and there was no sub-prime lending and it just can’t happen here. I’m quick to remind them that the loss of one income from a two income family will in essence convert a low credit risk to a poor credit risk akin to that of a sub-prime borrower real fast. Now, multiply this my hundreds of thousands if not millions of borrows and we too have a major problem in Canada no different from that of the US. Wishful thinking really. The proof’s in the pudding and this puddings going to bring a dose of reality to those that are living in fantasy land, way beyond their means and who apparently have missed the global financial crisis that’s been gaining traction and intensity since August 2007.
We’re not only “Hosers” in Canada but we’re royally Hosed as well!!
Robert Clegg, JD, LL.M
Ombudsman, University of Calgary
Now if only I could figure out how to short the housing mess that we all know is coming to Canada, I’d be insanely rich.