If you take a moment to think about the following, you will find it is surprisingly true – in the face of news about crashing housing markets all over the world where the likes of the UK, the US and European countries such as Spain are heavily cited, there is no mention anywhere of ongoing issues of any sort in the Canadian real estate market. No one is talking down property in Canada or even the Canadian economy as a whole, so could it be that there is a corner of the world where the global fiscal crisis is having no impact at all?
Well, no, that’s not strictly true. As the leading trading partner with the US, Canada is certainly impacted by America’s woes, however Canada’s economy is also blessed by rock solid fundamentals and has been well taken care of by sound economic policy it would seem. What’s more, for those seeking a market where there is maturity, ongoing demand and yet where one still finds pockets of emerging potential, Canada’s safe and transparent property market is proving oh so popular.
If you’re an investor seeking as safe a haven for your hard won investment capital as possible, Canada could be worth closer inspection. If you’re a would-be emigrant looking for a nation where you can be shielded from the slings and arrows of outrageous cyclical fiscal fortune, again Canada should maybe come top of your considered country list. The nation has so much going for it, and what’s more, its property market would appear to have all of the stability and attraction that the British market consistently lacks.
Testimony to the robust nature of Canada’s property market is the fact that earlier this year Jones Lang LaSalle and LaSalle Investment Management named Canada’s the most transparent real estate market in the world. It topped their tough list for the first time, knocking Australia well off the number one spot. It seems that to the Canadian authorities, having a well-regulated property market is the number one base fundamental for building a solid market. In the bi-annual Global Real Estate Transparency Index from Jones Lang LaSalle and LaSalle Investment Management, indicators include government and legal issues, cross-border capital flows and the movement of corporate businesses, and Canada was crowned king of the transparent, and therefore ‘safe,’ property markets.
This has added positive fuel to the overall appeal of Canada as a place to live, invest, buy real estate and even do business. But what about the aforementioned fact that Canada is not immune to the global financial crisis, largely because it is such a strong trading partner with the US? Well, Canada has certainly been impacted by falling export values and a decline in the number of visitors arriving from America, but in turn it has benefitted from an increase in arrivals from Europe and Asia, from strong energy export prices and from the fact that it signed a free trade association free trade agreement with Europe in January 2008. So whilst areas of its economy have receded or been impacted, other areas have emerged and strengthened.
Canada is certainly bucking the overall trend of negative fiscal fundamentals across the board, and whilst we’re not suggesting it has taken no direct hits, everything still seems to be stacking up in favour of economic stability and robustness in Canada. This makes it particularly attractive for investors seeking regular income, as well as for those looking for a new home abroad in a mature and constant market. As with any country you’re considering buying a property in, one must look closely at the appeal of Canada on a region by region, town by town basis. New markets have opened up particularly for investors in recent years – the growth in natural fuel extraction has led to increased employment, increased migration and increased demand for properties in Alberta for example, and now according to a recent article in The Economist, Saskatchewan is the latest province to be booming on the back of record price gains and demand for various crops such as wheat as well as potash, uranium, oil and natural gas which the province has in abundance.
Such a boom could lead to a period of inward migration of workers that could represent an investment opportunity to a buyer. Alternatively, there are pockets of the nation where there are far fewer natural resources but where tourism is booming. Already renowned as a global hotspot for winter sports, new areas of Canada’s Quebec province are becoming better known as stunning all year round sports and outdoor pursuit enthusiast’s havens. Look at locations between both Montreal and Mt Tremblant where you can attract visitors attracted to the city as well as the great outdoors to your rental property.
Finally, in terms of where to buy if you’re looking to buy a property in Canada to live in, your purchase decision is likely to be driven by your requirement for employment, accessibility, local amenities such as schools and healthcare. If you have work in one of the major cities, consider renting a home first so that you can get to know where the emerging pockets of house price growth are, which areas have already boomed and where there are affordable homes in your price bracket and matching your personal criteria for a home in Canada.