BOC warning ignites agent reaction

by Jordan Maxwell17 Jun 2015

Warnings from Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz haven’t put a damper on agent enthusiasm for the current and future markets as they suggest talks of an eventual housing crash are overblown, despite economic factors.

“I have seen our share of ups and downs, surely based on where the oil prices are right now but the market is stable,” Akbar Nimji, a real estate agent with Re/Max in Calgary, told REP.

“New immigrants definitely bring vitality to the real estate industry and we’re see the low to mid-range markets almost completely unaffected. In fact, there are still multiple offers on these types of homes.”

His take reflects a reality on the ground for many agents as they battle through talk of overvaluation and warnings of an impending housing bubble; however, many are facing up to concerns raised by the Bank of Canada.

In his address, Poloz said that lower oil prices and high levels of consumer debt have raised the risks to Canada’s financial stability.

What's more, he also said that while the bank has yet to fully grasp the effect of low oil prices, an answer which they hope to have in the next month, Poloz reiterated that Canadian home prices are overvalued by 10 to 30 per cent, making the market susceptible to a correction down the line.

His comments also follow recent remarks from George Ross, executive vice-president of the Donald Trump organization, and Stuart Levings, head of Genworth MI Canada, who voiced similar thoughts, citing demand from millennials, successful amendments to mortgage regulations in 2008, and the embellishment of the oil market as reasons to be optimistic.

“There is strong demand in this country and there will always be,” Levings told the Financial Post recently. “Why? Simply because of our immigration policy."

Recent numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association showing a 3.1 per cent jump in home sales point to a positive outlook so far in 2015, despite uncertainty in oil-producing provinces.

“Over the past many years, these oil prices have an impact, but certainly do not control our nouveau economy," said Nimji. "But overall, (the talk) just keeps the real estate professionals on their toes, and forces us, pleasantly, to adjust and develop our skills constantly to serve the predominant marketplace."

Dianne Beaman, a real estate agent with iPro Realty, said that while concerns for the Canadian housing market are warranted, she believes that a housing correction, not a bubble or crash, is likely in the future.

“I don’t think there will be a crash or the bubble will burst, but there will be a correction down the line," Beaman told REP. "Protections will be important and agents need to be prepared for whatever may come."

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