The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC) promotes itself as being Canada’s national housing agency for almost 70 years.
Last week, the CMHC published the fourth quarter assessment for Canada and 15 major urban markets. I think we all expected Vancouver and Toronto to be red-flagged for overvaluation.
Looking at the other 13 cities, not much has changed since the last quarter. In fact, the overvaluation situation in Saskatoon has lessened.
Price acceleration in Hamilton, Ont., and Victoria, B.C., has increased slightly over the past three months. In fact, Hamilton, is the only city that has had its overall assessment change rating colours since last quarter.
According to this assessment report, the concerns that are being found in Canada’s two primary urban centres are spreading to other communities.
It is interesting to note that if Toronto and Vancouver were excluded from the study, then the increase in house prices across the country would have only been six per cent as opposed to 11 per cent. In fact, if one excludes Ontario and British Columbia, house prices decreased by three per cent across the eight other provinces combined. Once again, two provinces and two cities appear to be all that counts in assessing an entire country.
Nothing changed in the assessment of Winnipeg. Once again, we are green and good across the board with a cautionary note in inventory levels of unsold units. Even though it was noted that inventory levels have declined substantially and absorptions have increased, the grade remained the same. Given that Halifax was the only city in Canada to receive green across the board (strange since Halifax has been in a building slump for two years), I guess we have to take our solitary yellow and move on. It’s like that teacher who refused to give out A’s or A+; we’re just going to have to accept that we’re not getting greens and that Winnipeg’s housing market is among the most secure in Canada.
Mike Moore is president of the Manitoba Home