Comprehensive economic forecast released

by Justin da Rosa09 Mar 2015
One of Canada’s most influential not-for-profit research organizations recently published its yearly Long-Term Economic Forecast, which include its predictions for the housing and mortgage markets for the next few years.

“In the near term, we think Canada’s housing market is poised to come in for a soft landing,” the Conference Board of Canada states in its comprehensive, 126-page document, obtained by REP. “Ongoing population growth and strong household formation have underpinned potential demand, and ongoing (albeit modest) employment growth and low interest rates have turned homebuyer interest into sales.”

The organization acknowledges that certain housing pockets – such as Toronto’s condo market – pose a certain threat to the economy but it believes the risk is manageable, with starts already cooling and mortgage rates expected to spike.

“Even this hazard is reduced by sustained housing demand and a solid local economy,” the organization states. “Over the next few years, rising interest rates will cool housing starts, despite good household formation.”

As for housing prices, the Conference Board is predicting one or two years of slight price declines. However, modest declines should be viewed in context: Prices have spiked nearly 70 per cent from 2003 to 2013.

With interest rates expected to eventually rise and markets starting  to cool, the Conference Board acknowledges prudent handling of finances among the majority of Canadians will help the country avoid a similar fate to that of the United States housing market in the mid-late 2000s.

“Such a flood would indeed prompt a significant housing market correction, as it did in the United States after the financial crisis struck in 2007,” the organization states. “One reason why Canada will avoid this fate is that Canadians seem to be behaving rationally, taking advantage of low interest rates to pay off their mortgages faster, so that, upon renewal, there is less debt to service and an individual’s carrying costs will not, accordingly, spike.”
 

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