The Canadian Housing Bubble Has Begun To Burst

Tyler Durden's picture

Don’t look now but slumping crude prices are hitting the Canadian housing market like a freight train. Energy accounts for 10% of Canadian GDP and around 25% of exports and the swift fall in oil prices is having a profound effect in the nation’s oil producing regions. Take Calgary for instance, where single-family home sales fell 34% last month. As the following chart shows, Alberta derives some 30% of its provincial revenues from energy royalties and as one TD analyst quoted by the Calgary Herald recently noted, “the effects of significantly lower oil prices had already turned up in resale activity, with sales in Calgary and Edmonton down more than 40 per cent and 30 per cent respectively, from October to January [and] as resale activity slows, prices usually follow.”

Depressed crude prices will create a $7 billion annual revenue shortfall for the province while GDP growth, which had been running at around 4%, is expected be just under half that this year, with some analysts predicting the economy will contract. Here’s CIBC’s outlook for instance: 

The Alberta government’s own assessment of the economic situation is deteriorating rapidly. 

From the Alberta fiscal update

The impact of lower oil prices on real economic growth is expected to be less severe than on incomes. Alberta’s real GDP, the volume of goods and services produced, is expected to expand in 2015, but at a much slower pace of 0.6%. This is down from the Second Quarter forecast of 2.8%. 


Although there are some similarities between the current [oil] price correction and previous ones, there are also key differences. Marginal extraction costs are significantly higher than in the past, with few sources of cheap supply remaining. In addition, current excess supply on the market can be attributable to price levels that encouraged the extraction of higher cost crude, rather than shrinking demand.

More broadly, there are significant signs that the housing market is starting to turn. For instance, the New Housing Price Index fell 0.1% in January. This was the first decrease at the national level in nearly a half decade.

Here’s more from The Herald:

Two housing reports released Thursday indicate year-over-year price gains for the Calgary market but on a monthly basis the real estate sector is starting to see declines indicating a correction is on its way.


“The abrupt shift in housing demand and supply conditions in some parts of the country indicate that potentially severe housing corrections have already begun. In Calgary, for example, the slump in existing home sales and jump in new properties listed for sale suggest that house prices will decline by 15 per cent this year,” said David Madani, economist with Capital Economics.


“Preliminary sales and listings figures for February reinforce this view: home sales fell by 35 per cent from a year ago, while the total number of properties listed for sale jumped by over 107 per cent.”

As you might imagine, the pain is particularly acute in the country’s oil boom towns. Here’s The Herald again:

Just take a look at what’s happening in the heart of Alberta’s oilsands industry as crude’s price collapse continues.


MLS sales of single-family homes in Fort McMurray and its surrounding area have plunged so far this year. In February, sales were down by a whopping 66 per cent from a year ago, at just 48 units. That followed an annual decline of 53.19 per cent in January.

...and more from RBC: 

Softening demographic fundamentals likely will weigh on Alberta’s housing sector. Already there are signs of impending housing market downturns in Calgary and Edmonton, although these so far primarily reflect a loss of confidence caused by the sharp drop in oil prices rather than weaker population growth. We project home resales to decline by nearly 16% in 2015 in Alberta and housing starts to moderate from 40.6K units last year to 27.5K units this year. 


We estimate that the direct impact of lower capital spending in the energy sector will reduce Alberta’s real GDP growth rate by more than 1.5 percentage points in 2015. Indirectly, the effect will spread to employment, net migration, the housing sector, consumer spending and, possibly, public sector spending. Our updated forecasts assume a decline in employment during the first half of 2015 in Alberta. Job losses could be as much as half the jobs created in 2014.

This isn't at all good for the country as a whole because as the Globe and Mail reports, Alberta has been a critical piece of the economic puzzle for Canada:

Alberta contributed one-third of Canada’s economic growth [in 2013] and is by far the fastest-growing province in the country again this year. Since the beginning of 2013, nearly half the jobs created in the country were in Alberta

Considering all of this, have a look at the following chart which shows the complete and total decoupling of Canadian housing prices and crude. 

Bringing it all together, it appears as though the 50% decline in crude prices may spell the end for the long-running Canadian housing boom. The data looks abysmal in oil-rich Alberta while at the national level, it looks as though January marked a tipping point. Add to this the fact that Canadian households are more leveraged than they have ever been as the following graphic from Statistics Canada shows: 

*  *  *

We'll leave you with the following from Laurentian Bank: 

Canadian consumers are highly leveraged and thus cannot continue supporting the growth of the economy like they have done over the past decade unless jobs are added at the same pace as they are in the U.S. The housing sector is also fully valued. 

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johngaltfla's picture

And FWIW, with the dollar's skyrocket, the overseas buyers and investors in Florida have all but dissappeared. We are runing on bankster and .gov vaporloans right now to generate any sizable increase in vacation home, time-share, or primary residence sales in Florida.

We will begin to see the real estate bubble pop here in Q4.

Winston Churchill's picture

Already seeing it here in Martin county.

cnmcdee's picture

I ran a typical ad in several Alberta cities - strangely the one in Calgary slid to page 32 - when I looked the kijiji ads were crazy - people would come take a pick-up truck of your 'garbage' for $40. Of course this barely covers the fuel to haul to the dump and further inspection revealed there is an exodus of people leaving Calgary that are just dumping their belongings as they go back east where the EI is better.  The other ads were for resume preparation services..

But the first to go of course are all the toys - has quads, 'compensator' trucks, and motorbikes, older vehicles at insane discounts....  Following that I expect a housing price carnage to ensue about August to September right when the people trying to hold out for a recovery run out of savings, EI, or both..

Of course all you hear are crickets from the Canadian media...

A big one is lease take-overs for example :



angel_of_joy's picture

It's not just AB. Friends from Vancouver (BC) told me they've receive their 2015 notices of assesment (property tax value) reduced with up to 7%. And that's as downtown Vancouver as you could get. At the same time, there is an insane number of "developments" about to be finished, in work, or (even better) ready to start ! No more Chinese money for them though...

gimme-gimme-gimme's picture

I can't believe that for a second.

There is absolutely no way the municipality would lower property tax so quickly (and voluntarily). You normally have to go to them with proof that recent sales in the neighborhood have decreased the value of your place.

Take a look at all the shit shacks still selling for outrageous prices.

So long as all the money laundering Chinese and other 3rd world nation plunering ex-pats are told they are no longer welcome in Canada (Vancouver) -- the land prices will not decrease.

Alberta on the other hand is fucked. That place was only seeing high land prices in a few of the larger/oil town cities only because of the jobs.

Now that those are gone (and if oil stay's down for a long time), so will the reasons to stay.

Laowei Gweilo's picture

yeah there's a huge fundamental mistake that's being made when talking about Canadian housing in that there basically are 3 separate markets... speaking to the "Canadian" market you might as well be speaking to the economics of North Dakota, China and California, and the general USA... Toronto is at risk for the same reason the U.S. was before... too much debt at low interest rates, and while most of these mortgages are much more secure, they're still at great risk relative to, say, mortgages 10 yrs ago. Alberta is basically wholly dependent on oil... mortgages in Alberta are much more secure and typically get more cash upfront than anywhere east of Saskatoon, but often are secured at lower duration because the much higher employment salaries... the banks felt safer giving short mortgages at X rate because everyone and their dog was making 100K a year or more


Vancouver tho... Vancouver may have a blip but if Vancouver goes down even 15%, that's just a buying opportunity for the ridiculous amount of Asian (mostly Chinese but also Iranian, Saudi) cash that's liquid in Van... 


the Canadian average can crash all it wants, Vancouver has enough cash in the sidelines just WAITING for Van to drop a little because they see it much more attractive than China (with the high borroring rates now and uncertain renminbi policy), stricter real estate controls of Australia, and geneneral immigration problems of California... 


that said, I am I am wrong because I would personally benefit from a -30% or more drop in Vancouver real estate .... but I'm not betting or planning for it ... anecdotally I just know (or have met, seen) far too much Chinese and Iranian cash in Van to believe anything more than -20% is just a BTFD

combined with the renminbi strengthening against the loonie by over +20%, any -20% housing crash + further loonie weakness is going to be a huge buying opportunity... even more so as the Chinese economy slows, investment opportunities at home decrease, capital flight continues.... and Australia continues to crack down on Chinese investors...  basically even MORE renminbi will flow into Vancouver as it becomes the best place to take Chinese wealth, and Vancouver housing could be anywhere between 15% and 35% cheaper than 2-3 years ago based on a -20% housing crash


Laowei Gweilo's picture

can you say where because i've seen quite a few and everything is up....


btw by that i mean basically anything east of nicola or north of barclay... i don't really know that corner well so maybe some of those little townhouses are town because no one with any liquidity wants so much trouble for parking for their luxury cars but basically everywhere else is up because it's in much more demand that that qaint little corner.. same with anything near the water, kits, etc that i've seen. anything in west van... anything in burnaby pretty much that's with 15k of kingsway... anything near no2 in richmond or the housing out east... it's all up that i've seen. 

armageddon addahere's picture

For laughs I clicked on the Kijiji link, then over to the "Classic Cars" section.

If you want to know how bad things are in Calgary, look in your local USA ads for a few "classic cars"

For the price of the same car in Toronto, double it.

For the price of the same car in Calgary, double it again.

56 Chevy 2 door sedan, $78,900

71 Chev 4X4 pickup $30,000

bluskyes's picture

The reason classic cars are so expensive in Toronto, is the copious amount of steel dissolving salt they layer on the roads every winter. Very hard to keep a car on the road for 20 years in this shit-hole province.

Northern Lights's picture

Agreed, It was bad when they were throwing rock-salt, now they pour this liquid salt-brine which makes the streets of Toronto look like one big glazed vanilla cake.  I have a prestine Dodge Challenger which I don't dare drive from December to April because of the roads.  Worse, it's affecting our health as when it rains and the ice starts to thaw, the run-off goes straight into the lake and into the food chain.  I recall they did a study of the Don River which runs right along the Don Valley Parkway after a bad winter 5 years ago.  They found that the salt runoff from the highway was so concentrated in the river that it killed everything in it and was stronger than the Atlantic Ocean.  We've had 2 of the worst winters the past 2 years and no one has done a study about it since.


armageddon addahere's picture

You are missing the point. If there wasn't plenty of disposable income hobby items like antique cars would not be worth such high prices. And if the economy was in desperate shape sellers would have to be more reasonable.

cnmcdee's picture

The point being is classic cars are owned by the rich, sold to the rich, and bought by the rich - those with the spare capital.  This guy probably has a better probability of winning the lottery than selling those collector cars at that price.

What is happening to those heading east  who have been laid off and are going 'home'  to get better EI terms - will have to get their vehicles to pass an out of province inspection - and that is *after* they drive it all the way across Canada..

They full well know that when they finally do arrive they are garanteed a  heavy mechanic's bill upon their destination, and the mechanic fully knows they are not going to drive it all the way back - so they know they will be completely at the mercy of a very greedy mechanic who figures they have lots of money hence Alberta plates.  So many are simply choosing to dump their vehicles in Alberta, and rebuy on the other side than risk a mechanical raping..  If they are paying $1200 / month in rent and their crap will only fetch at most $600 in kijiji and maybe buy them two weeks it's simply cheaper to call the pickup truck for $40, dump the vehicle on kijiji and book a flight, picking something up on the other end.

If you think people  are getting money for stuff on kijiji I challenge anyone to try - unless you are practically giving the shit away you will not move it.



bluskyes's picture

Norfolk County, in Ontario did a study on that brine shit, and found it to be completely ineffective. I believe it's waste from beet pickling plants. It's only benefit, was when it was applied immediately prior to rock salt - it aided slightly in adhesion of the granules to the road surface.

It's even worse than rock salt for machinery, because it is adhesive, and forms an even stonger bond than the road film itself. I suspect that there is some sort of government grant associated with the use of the product.

O-Nomics's picture

Rental ads are booming as well:

Especially the 3 hot markets of Vancouver, Toronto & Calgary

Temporalist's picture

That is a bit misleading because airbnb is like uber (the app/co) for rooms and apts for short durations not so much primary residences for rent.

oudinot's picture

cnmcee-You are right about the Canadain media being quiet on the economic storm hitting us.

MSM Canadian media is the same as US media-righteous, loud, stupid, ignorant -just propaganda.

Bay of Pigs's picture

And you won't hear anything until after the bubble bursts. Canada hasn't even had a housing "correction" in 15 years. It's a fuckan joke. Average house in Fort Mac is still over $750K. LOL...

Escrava Isaura's picture



Wait a minute!

I thought house was a liability? A money pit.

What am I missing here?


PAXMAN: But why do you care about stupid people?

CHOMSKY: Stupid people?  These people have power, and they are carrying out actions. They're carrying out the actions that are de-funding possible efforts to do something about these crimes. Furthermore, they're backed by major concentrations of power. The major business lobbies, for example, have announced that they are funding big propaganda campaigns to convince people that this doesn't matter.

These are serious issues. For example, we happen to be in the middle of a huge financial crisis – people have noticed. If you trace that back, a lot of it comes from a fanatic religious belief in what's called the “Efficient Market Hypothesis”. Pure fanaticism dominated the economics profession, dominated the Federal Reserve.

The one consequence was that when an $8 trillion housing bubble developed, totally unrelated to any fundamentals, completely off the 100-year history of housing prices, the profession and the Fed, the central bank, said it's not necessary to pay attention, because there are “Efficient Markets”. I mean, is that very different from “God promised Noah”?



one_hundred's picture
one_hundred (not verified) johngaltfla Mar 24, 2015 11:50 PM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

kaiserhoff's picture

Canada and Australia have similar problems as resource exporters,

  but the whole world seems full of overpriced real estate. 

BLOTTO's picture

Im east of Toronto, its fuckin expensive everywhere in a 100km radius.

And in Toronto they announced last week that the avergae prices have reached $1Million...unreal.



Renfield's picture

Time for NIRP to hit mortgage rates? If Denmark can do neg-rate mortgages, why not Canada?

I'd be outraged but the whole thing is turning into a comedy at this point. Who can take these central planners seriously anymore. I wonder how long the peasantry will remain docile...

bluskyes's picture

I'm taking out the biggest mortgage I can, if fixed rate mortgages go negative.

The whole financial system is experiencing a pole reversal, Lose money working, saving, and lending, and Make money by doing nothing, squandering, and borrowing. Almost like a cartoon that steps into the third dimension.

TheRedScourge's picture

They won't go negative for you or me. Unless you're a government perhaps.

Winston Churchill's picture

Who would want to live within a 100 miles of Toronto anyways ?

I spent a decade there, one weekend.

armageddon addahere's picture

Millions of people in the Third World that's who. They fly in a hundred plane loads a week.

oudinot's picture

About 10MM people, that's how many.

Never One Roach's picture
"Tens of thousands of oilfield workers and midlevel energy employees have lost their jobs in recent months during the ongoing oil crash, and more cuts are expected in the coming months."

foodstampbarry's picture

INsanity. Listening to the Canadian media, they actually believe 100/barrell is only weeks, if not days away from returning. Denial and delusion runs deep in the Great white north.

Lore's picture

Agreed. Most people think this is a blip, but it won't change until overproduction stops and consumption starts putting a dent in storage.  That's not expected to happen for a while yet, maybe not until the end of the decade.  In the meantime, the bleeding in jobs, real estate and everything else continues.  (Heaven help insolvent retailers.  Anybody think Sears Canada or the Bay will survive the year?)

On the matter of real estate, let's bear in mind that tax assessment is not the same as resale valuation. I can tell you that cities outside Vancouver are ~-13% off the peak, and some places are a disaster.  You should see the listings booklets in Whistler.  By mutual agreement, real estate agencies don't put signs on curbs, because if they did there would be no place for grass to grow.  I have a friend from the Interior who says the market has "Stopped."  His exact words: "It's STOPPED." 

People in Southwestern BC should take heart in the knowledge that this is the warmest part of the nation in a long term cooling trend.  Also, diversification of trade with Asia Pacific partners will buffer the local economy.  BC has several major mining projects nearing production in addition to royalties associated with the Northern Gateway Pipeline when it finally gets built.  (Greenies are dead set against it, but might change their tune after a few more derailments or funding dries up for local transfer payments and social programs.) Rgds

strangeglove's picture

Just cross the lake into NY and take your pick of house for 40K

duo's picture

Canada, welcome Texas in 1986

Abbie Normal's picture

The funny thing is Canada did go through this in the mid-80s too.  Calgary houses that skyrocketed from $150K to $240 in three years were back to $180K within six months.  Those that don't learn from the past...

q99x2's picture

Hell with moose hunting; time to bag a bankster.

Terminus C's picture

Banker tags are hard to come by and mighty expensive at the moment.

cnmcdee's picture

And it requires special skilsets and tools - like nail guns..

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

And yet HK/Chinese Oligarchs keep buying RE in Hongcouver, driving prices to ludicrous levels.

Thank you Walmart, Target and Costco shoppers: a big part of all those billions that went to China are now coming back. Except that, unlike 'Merican dumb asses who buy shit-ware Made in China, they're here to buy your bosses and properties.

Signs of the end's picture

Chinese money will keep Canada afloat for a while longer. Toronto has much more Chinese money than Vancouver and it just keeps pouring in. Houses and businesses are selling within days for over asking prices. Alberta will suffer the pain as it does every 20 years or so but Ontario and BC will be fine, at least for a while and maybe much longer because the Chinese own all of Vancouver and Toronto will be a major Yuan clearing hub for North America attracting even more Chinese 'investment'. North of the 401 and East of Yonge in the GTA is almost all Chinese with a healthy sprinkling of Russian and Iranian money which is also flowing in like the Amazon in spring. Canada welcomes all oligrachs with no questions asked so the Canadian Economy is not just dependent on oil, it is far more dependent on ill gotten gains from the East!

jaxville's picture

 And why exactly will Chinese money continue to flow into Canadian cities?   They are having enough problems keeping Chinese money flowing into Chinese real estate these days. 

  When the Chinses economy heads south,  foreign real estate will get dumped.

jaxville's picture

 And why exactly will Chinese money continue to flow into Canadian cities?   They are having enough problems keeping Chinese money flowing into Chinese real estate these days. 

  When the Chinese economy heads south,  foreign real estate will get dumped.

Event Horizon's picture

Stupid article,,, Canadas RE is very different across the country, the oil towns wil be hit as they were in boom mode, but to extrapolate and claim Canada RE is doomed is ignorant, Alberta has the highest private land ownership in the country, it booms and busts with oil, always has,, nobody really wants to live there, they live there ONLY for the oil boom jobs.

I am in a hot area of Vancouver, the condo market is fairly flat but the single family home market is ON FIRE... I have never seen it this hot around here,, houses are selling fast, our house went up nearly 200 grand last year and is up another 200 grand in the last 2 months, 5 houses went up for sale around us at record high prices here and sold within days.. new listing prices are really moving up, there are three around us now at 2.4-2.7 million.. for homes that were 600 grand 15 years ago,,, 

Most of the rise is the land value, that is why condos are flat,, RE is always local,,, blanket statements about Canada are mental.

Lore's picture

Where I live, "mixed-use" apartments are flopping because there are so blasted many.  They may be cheap to build, but if regular homes become more affordable, which would you choose?

Carpenter1's picture

Canada is screwed, but you wouldn't know it by looking at its stock market. Canadians still ttotally delusional.

Terminus C's picture

We'll find safety in the Dow and the SnP.  Don't worry about us and our stawks... we got this.

cnmcdee's picture

But they won't notice till playoff's are over...

oddjob's picture

TSX venture index is at a 20 year lows...who's delusional now.

skank's picture

Angelina Jolie rotten cunt makes USA TODAY!

'Jolie effect': Could her candor help save lives?

Renfield's picture

Yeah, you're in the wrong place, guy. Huffington Post is down THAT way.

skank's picture

Angelina Jolie rotten cunt makes The Huffington Post!

Angelina Jolie Undergoes Surgery To Remove Ovaries, Fallopian Tubes To Avoid Cancer