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Is Toronto Different?

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Are we different? This recent piece from MSNBC on the differences between the U.S. and Canadian housing markets once again hits on the big question of why did we not experience the housing market crash that the rest of the world (especially the U.S.) did. Are we fundamentally different and insulated from the U.S. housing market? Even more important – moving forward is the Toronto Condo Market at risk of collapse?

Doomsayers like Garth Turner would say that we are exactly the same as the U.S. in that we have lax lending requirements and our own versions of sub prime lenders, and that we are living way beyond our means. Of course, Garth has been saying this for about 3 years now, and written two books about it, and still we are awaiting the big crash that he says is imminent.

Most bankers and economists would tell you that Canada is different because we are more conservative or something like that.

Both sides of the argument to me sound like a whole lot of cliché and not much analysis of the numbers or reasoning behind their statements. Predicting the real estate market beyond the next quarter or so is always a fools’ game. Look at every long-term prediction that has been made by bankers, Realtor associations (like TREB or CREA), economists, and pundits over the past 5 years. One thing they all have in common is that they were all wrong! The best these so called ‘experts’ can do it seems, is tell you that things will be slightly different next year than they were this year.

There is no debate now that the Toronto condo market is losing steam. Listings are up, sales are slowing, prices are weakening. The inevitable questions are now are will it crash? How long will this ‘down market’ last? Isn’t it our inalienable right as Torontonians to always have an upward moving condo market?? But the biggest question is, where do I put my money as an investor? There are good opportunities in every market, including down markets, in which to invest. I’m investing now, and you should too. Contact me if you’d like to discuss.