REAL ESTATE MARKETS ARE NOT NATIONAL - THEY ARE LOCAL

Why is it that experts have to talk about real estate as one big market when it is not! Not all of the U.S. market is under siege. The high end (over $5 million) has had seven and thirteen percent increases in sales for the past two years and is up again this year. Of the 150 metro markets in the U.S., median prices were falling in 77 (what the press is reporting) but were increasing in 73 (what the press forgets to talk about)!!

Another trend in the U.S. is that the urban markets are outperforming the suburban markets. Unlikely cities such as Pittsburgh, Columbus Ohio (one of the states devastated by the market down turn) and Atlanta have rising sales in their  downtown markets. And in metro markets that report separate condo sales, 41 out of 59 markets report rising condo prices!!! How is this possible if the U.S. real estate market is as bad as we are told?? Let me quote Garth Turner from his latest real estate book on doom and gloom: "an anti-real estate mood has swept America. Within months it will be here". No facts but it is good for book sales. 

So let's look at the Canadian market again. Prices and sales are slowing in the West and we are told it is coming to Toronto - just like a bad cold. When prices increase by 51% in a single year in Saskatoon, what do you expect? A correction. We have never had that type of sales hysteria in Toronto. Just a steady market with good fundamentals. Let me just leave you with the latest story from our Company. We listed a condo at $799,000 and sold it in a week for $890,000 with multiple offers. That's a price of over over $800 per sq.ft.  Is this a sign of a market correction this year? Not likely! The point is that Turner is right, there is always a market correction or slow down coming. Turner claims he called the last one - only he was 4 years too early! My guess is that Turner is early again - maybe not 4 but at least by 3 years. Do you want to be out of the market that long with prices rising! Turner's  hysteria makes for good book sales but lousy economics for home owners and investors.