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Will the Condo Market Crash?

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It’s that time of year again, the time of year after a very busy spring market (I would argue a typical spring market) that was full of bidding wars, new price records being set, sellers making enormous profits, buyers extending themselves to the max, and the pundits were left scratching their heads saying: is this a bubble? Is the condo market about to crash? Cue the headlines proclaiming that prices will soon fall. It seems every year around mid-July when all the final stats are in for the busiest time of year for real estate (April, May, June), the mass media looks to tell us that this is not sustainable and that it is all about to fall apart.

The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star are competing for your eyeballs right now running the same story: some of the good folks at TD bank are claiming that sometime in the next 2 years the market will slow down and prices will fall. Wow, what a bold prediction (sarcasm)!

Here are my problems with this prediction (and others like it):

  1. They are extremely vague. Interest rates will go up and incomes will go down, therefore prices in Toronto and Vancouver will fall 10%. Really? How will this happen? Why will this happen? Show me some statistics in the market right now that leads you to believe this is going to happen. These articles are always very short on specifics.
  2. They are too broad in scope. Economists and bankers are trained to think of the big picture. We live in a global village, however, real estate is still local. If you want to know what will happen to the downtown Toronto condo market – talk to the experts who live and breathe the market, not some economist who has never set foot inside a Toronto condo.
  3. They are too long term. Trying to predict the real estate market beyond about 6 months is a fool’s game. Look at any of the predictions made 2 years ago for where the market would be today and you’ll see what I mean.
  4. They are media driven. Bad news sells. Good news doesn’t. This is a simple concept we all understand. If a pundit comes out and says that everything seems fine and will continue along as it has been, that pundit will soon be out of work!

I only see two things causing a change in the Toronto condo market in the short term:

  1. RAPID rise in interest rates. If interest rates rise, this won’t likely impact the market – because they will rise slowly and the market will adjust accordingly. If they rise quickly and significantly, then we will see a big impact. (Consult further: Toronto condo market in 1989.)
  2. MAJOR economic catastrophe. If Greece defaults, or the U.S. doesn’t get their act together and they are downgraded, the world will feel the pain and the trickle down effect will most likely and eventually hurt the Toronto condo market.

Thoughts or questions? I always like to hear from my readers. Leave a comment or contact me directly.

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