What is a Housing Bubble and How Does it Affect You?
You have heard the term "housing bubble", but what does it actually mean, and is Edmonton experiencing one? Whether you already own a home and waiting for the right time to sell, or are considering buying another property in the near future, it is valuable to know whether to buy and sell in a housing bubble and how it may affect you.
A housing bubble happens when the price of homes rises quickly, at an unsustainable rate. Typically, a price-growth rate that’s in the high single-digits is considered to be healthy and sustainable. Under healthy conditions, homeowners continue to earn equity over time, sellers can make a profit on resale, and buyers can still afford to get into the market. This has been the trend in most Canadian provinces except for Alberta over the last decade where Alberta house prices have plateaued and in some places dropped dramatically.
What Usually Happens When a Housing Bubble Bursts?
During a housing bubble, homes become overvalued. When the bubble bursts, prices fall. Homeowners who have no intention of selling are unlikely to feel the direct impacts of the bursting bubble. However, these market conditions often indirectly impact other aspects of the economy, so to call homeowners who aren’t selling “free and clear” would be misleading. The Homebuyers who purchased a home during a housing bubble likely paid considerably more than it is worth.
Is Canada in a Housing Bubble?
The Canadian housing market took a surprising upward turn during the COVID-19 pandemic, after coming to a grinding halt in mid-March. The slow-down was short-lived, and what followed through the remainder of 2020 was a spike in demand for homes met by a shortage of supply. With 2021 well underway, there appears to be no end in sight. There are a number of factors that indicate we’re not experiencing a bubble caused by market speculators, contrary to some media reports.
A recent online survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents in Western Canada, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada found that speculators are not a factor in the Canadian real estate market at this time. In fact, more than 96% of RE/MAX brokers and agents supported this finding, confirming that the majority of homebuyers are end-users. Speculators tend to wait out hot markets, buying when prices are down and selling when they’re up again. The short-term investment opportunities they’re generally looking for are hard to find under current market conditions. Bully offers and bidding wars are commonplace, and we continue to see demand outpacing supply with the release of the monthly housing market data. These factors are generally inhospitable to speculators and investors.
For a housing bubble to burst, there needs to be a steep incline in inventory and new listings, and a decline in demand – neither of which is likely to happen any time soon.
The Canadian housing market is still feeling the impacts of the pent-up demand from 2017 when the government introduced the foreign buyer tax and the mortgage stress test as a means to cool the overheating market. These policies prompted many homebuyers to move to the sidelines, opting to wait and save, with plans to re-engage in the housing market in a few years.
Now fast-forward a few years to 2020. COVID-19 had a similar impact on the market, whereby many homebuyers delayed their purchase plans due to pandemic-related uncertainties. That pre-existing pent-up demand for homes continued to swell. With Canadians subject to stay-at-home orders with nowhere to go and spend their hard-earned money, they collectively saved historically high sums, which was injected back into the housing market once consumer confidence returned. The spending came in the form of record-high home sales and for those who were unwilling to face the competitive resale market conditions, renovations to existing dwellings. In fact, Canadian real estate was said to be the driving force behind the Canadian economy in 2020. Savings, low-interest rates and low inventory continue to put pressure on the housing market.
What is Happening to Edmonton's Real Estate Market?
A housing bubble can happen as a result of non-organic growth like it did in January 2006 to June 2007 and the average single-family detached house rose by $200,000. This happened due to our job surplus and supply and demand of real estate. Basically, people were moving to Edmonton and the surrounding area for work and there was a shortage of houses to buy.
Edmonton house prices hit the high point at the crash of economic stability in the summer of 2007 and the real estate market crashed fast when the bubble burst and the ripple effect of a bursting housing bubble flooded Alberta. Several homeowners were holding more than one property which resulted in lower asking prices and foreclosures. There were fewer buyers to due to the loss of jobs, economic instability, and uncertainty, a surplus of housing choices, and anticipation of a more housing prices drop.
Is Edmonton in a Housing Bubble?
The answer is "no". Edmonton is one of the few places in Canada, where house prices have not changed for the last decade, making it a great place to a home. Although in the last few months, Edmonton's real estate market has picked up a bit and there have been a few more multiple offers, we are not anywhere close to our last real estate bubble. Edmonton's increase in real estate activity has been due to the low-interest rates and not the economic factors. We currently have some of Canada's best-priced real estate making Edmonton a great choice for investment.
Is now a good time to buy in Edmonton?
The answer is yes. With low house prices, low-interest rates, and an inviting international real estate market, Edmonton is a fantastic place to buy a home.
Is now a good time to sell in Edmonton?
It depends. If you are a condominium owner, expect to take a loss on your property if you have purchased it in the last ten years. If you are selling a luxury home, the demand is beginning to increase especially near Canmore and country residential. For those who are selling detached houses in Edmonton, prices are stable, and asking prices need to be at "fair market value" to receive an offer within a reasonable time period.
If you would like to know more about Edmonton's real estate market, feel free to contact our experienced, professional Edmonton Remax Realtors who can guide you through the buying and selling process.