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A Comparison of Calgary House Prices to the US Real Estate Market February 27, 2008

Posted by DustinRJay in Calgary real estate, US real estate.
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30 comments

A couple of conclusions can be reached by examining Calgary real estate prices to the US real estate market:

  • The Calgary real estate boom occurred 1 to 2 years after the US boom
  • Calgary house prices have increased by more than most American cities
  • The precipitous drop in Calgary real estate in late 2007 is comparable to some of the most overheated markets in the US
  • American cities that had ‘sharp’ appreciation are now experiencing ‘sharp’ depreciation

A graph of Calgary and American real estate prices is below:

A Comparison of Calgary House Prices to the US Real Estate Market

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Long Term Relationship Between Calgary House Prices and Alberta Economic Activity Diverge – Irrational Exuberance? February 24, 2008

Posted by DustinRJay in Calgary real estate, long term real estate trends.
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12 comments

The price of houses is linked to the economic well-being of the region.  Recently, the Alberta economy has been extremely strong and Calgary house prices have increased tremendously. But the question remains, did house prices increase rationally in comparison to economic growth?

A comparison of house prices and GDP per capita show that they roughly track each other for 24 years and then sharply diverge.  This could imply that recent asset valuations of houses have been irrationally exuberant, and a more rational valuation of ~$300,000 would be approprate given the current level of economic acitivity.

 Long Term Relationship Between Calgary House Prices and Alberta Economic Activity Diverge - Irrational Exuberance? 

        

                   

Financial Calculators For Making Real Estate Investment Decisions February 13, 2008

Posted by DustinRJay in Calgary real estate, rental yields.
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2 comments

I have found the following two calculators useful for making decisions regarding whether or not it is a good time to buy or sell real estate.  Some good test examples are:           

  • What is a fair market value for a house given its rent and an investment horizon of 10 years? e.g. No difference in wealth between renting and owning over a period of 10 years.  What about 30 years?  What about 5 years?
  • How much does increasing or decreasing interest rates by 2 percentage points affect the economics of buying vs. renting?
  • Develop three cases using conservative values, best guess values and upside values for owning vs. renting.  How do they compare?
  • Would a rental property have a greater return than safe investments like bonds or GIC’s?

The calculators are available at:

Rent Vs. Buy Calculator

Rent Vs. Sell Calculator

     

Risk Spreads – A Red Light on the Real Estate Market February 7, 2008

Posted by DustinRJay in Calgary real estate, risk spreads.
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4 comments

Typically, when looking for a good investment opportunity, one expects a higher return than a safe investment like a bond. 

A mortgage product has risk and therefore should have a higher return than a bond.  By an analysis of the spread above the safe investment  vehichle one can determine periods of heightened risk in the credit markets.

Typically, heightened risk in the credit markets has accompanied recessions.  Also, this has proved to be one of several warning indicators for the peak in the housing market cycle.

As you can see in the following graph, large jumps in the risk spread (red zone) have typically accompanied the start of a bear market in real estate.  In addition, a recession has often followed a sharp increase in the risk spread.  Currently, the risk spread is the highest it has been since the early 1980’s bear Calgary real estate market.

This sort of analysis is useful in identifying some of the creamier investing opportunities (green zone) when the risks have been smaller.

Risk Spreads - A Red Light on the Real Estate Market

Reading Tea Leaves – Predicting Canadian Recessions Using Financial Variables February 5, 2008

Posted by DustinRJay in recession risks.
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36 comments

One of the tools that the Bank of Canada uses for forecasting probability of recessions is the spread between Government of Canada 10 year bond yields and 90 day commercial paper.  This is a leading indicator of slower economic growth.  The benefit of using a tool like this, is that if recessions can be successfully predicted in advance, monetary policy can be adjusted accordingly.

The paper “Predicting Canadian Recessions Using Financial Variables: A Probit Approach” concludes to say:

“Results in the paper show that, in comparison to other financial variables, the spread between Canadian long bonds and the 90-day commercial paper rate is best at predicting recessions in Canada.”

The following graph shows that the spread has been the largest since the 1990’s recession for about a year:

Predicting Canadian Recessions Using Financial Variables

The past two recessions have marked peaks in the housing cycle in Calgary.  As carrying costs are the highest since previous housing bubbles (see this post), it is useful to estimate the probability of a recession as a tool in forecasting the peak in the current housing cycle. 

I am optimistic that Canada will avoid a recession at this point.  However, I estimate that the next period will be the slowest economic growth that has been seen in more than a decade.  I estimate that the probabilities of a Canadian recession are about the chance of flipping a coin three times and having all heads.  Currently,  Global Insight has estimated the probability of recession at 25% in Canada, with most other instutions forecasting less risk than that.

For those that are highly leveraged and unable to cope with an economic shock, there may be difficult times ahead…

Calgary Real Estate Supply & Demand January 2008 February 2, 2008

Posted by DustinRJay in supply and demand.
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11 comments

A review of supply and demand is important in understanding the direction of house prices.  The following graph shows the recent trends of inventory and year over year sales.  In summary, the market has changed dramatically from last year:

  • Current inventory is more than double January 2007
  • Sales are down more than 30% year over year

New CREB President Takes The Reigns

Please feel free to post your own interpretation.