Vancouver real estate not in bubble says CMHC, but housing analyst disagrees

Economists at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation say there is no overheating in Vancouver's real estate market, despite seemingly sky-high prices.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation economists say there is no overheating in city's real estate market

Single family home prices in Toronto and Vancouver have seen the biggest price gains. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

Prices may seem sky-high in Vancouver, but economists at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation say there is no overheating or acceleration in the city.

In a Housing Now Canada report released Monday, the CMHC categorized Vancouver as low risk, saying "the level of home prices in Vancouver is supported by local growth in personal disposable income and long-term population growth."

Housing analyst Ben Rabidoux, president of market research firm North Cove Advisors, disagrees with the CMHC's analysis.

"Average resale prices in Vancouver are currently 26 times the average personal disposable income in the city. That is more than double the long term norm and far and away the highest multiple in the country."

Rabidoux questions how the CMHC can conclude prices are being supported by local income growth given the growing gap between how much people earn and the cost of housing.

Data released by the CMHC show prices have gone up faster in Canada than in the United States, the UK and Australia — Vancouver has the most expensive real estate in Canada, and some of the highest prices in the world.

Rabidoux and some other analysts believe a correction is inevitable, while others say prices will remain firm unless there's an economic shock, such as sharply higher interest rates or a spike in B.C.'s unemployment rate.

House prices in Canada vs. other countries since 2000. (CMHC)
House prices in Canada plus major cities (CMHC)

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