By Heino Molls
There are people out there who bewildered to think we are actually in the year 2017. For many it is hard to believe that we have come this far past the millennium. The Y2K warnings, followed by unspeakable disaster and frightful terrorism that has been with us since the turn of the century have made for challenging years.
The recent census shows there are way more people in most Canadian cities than ever before. Many have benefited from this influx of people. First and foremost, for us anyway, are the people who have done well in the real estate boom. It isn’t just the people who traded property but those who managed to hold on to their properties through these years and now realize a tremendous rise in its value. From everything I see, there is no sign of this boom in property value abating.
The only thing I see ahead is the number of people who will predict the devaluation of property values. The bubble bursting. The collapse of house prices on the horizon. I see no such disaster ahead.
Yes, it is more difficult than ever for the common Joe and Jill to buy a home. Yes, we run a risk of challenges if interest rates rise. At the very worst, property values may not rise at the incredible rate they have gone up in the past decade. They will, however, absolutely hold and I stress they will not go down. It is far more likely that even if the economy goes into duress, which I don’t think will happen, property values will not just hold, they will continue to go up.
Do the math on your own. Not the math of the naysayers, the doom and gloom crowd, the people who will show you diagrams and charts with circles and arrows that pinpoint the exact time and date of the collapse of the real estate market. Rather look around, see what is going on and add it up for yourself.
Census Canada figures show that Canada’s population has rocketed past 35 million. In fact, that number is going to be 36 million before the ink is dry on this most recent report and it will, without a doubt, be going at light speed past 40 million way before 2020. That means a huge boost in housing demand. It means that the privilege of living in a home in Canada, not to mention an actual house in Canada is going to come with a high cost. You think the cost of a house in Toronto, Vancouver or Ottawa is high now, just wait.
We are facing many problems in our country. There is not enough time and space here to discuss all the challenges of health care, especially mental health care, as well as housing for the poor and marginalized people in our society. Another major challenge that should be mentioned in the same conversation as housing and property value is public transit.
Our governments are scrambling to build new transit ways and highways to accommodate all the people who will be travelling to and from our inner cities for business, health care, restaurants and entertainment.
Our biggest problem is going to be building transit, not just within our cities but also from the towns and satellite communities that will have even higher population growth in the coming years. Communities like Chilliwack and Abbotsford in B.C. and cities like Kitchener-Waterloo not far from Toronto. The same for all other cities in the country. Transit is going to be our biggest problem.
Falling house prices. Yeah, not so much.