The Canadian property market is very different to your stereotypical European market, although on further investigation it seems to be a lot simpler. Generally houses are more spacious with basements the norm – which can often double the floor space of your property. Not generally seen as a first port of call for relocating your life, Canada really does have a lot to offer Expats wanting to live in Canada .
Beautiful and varied landscapes, together with a totally different way of life to many European countries, are some of the main attractions to foreign nationals. The economy is heavily dependent on natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals and while obviously tied in the main to commodity prices, the economy has performed very well of late.
Canada is actually the second largest country in the world by landmass, and while not all of the land is fully populated (77% of the 32 million population live in towns or cities) it really is a country of discovery. The close relationship with the USA offers a fair degree of safety to the overall economy, with additional trade relationships further strengthening the situation.
These differences were highlighted in a post at the Canada Expat Forum last December 10, 2007:
You have options about how you would like to live. Smaller towns that have great shopping, hospitals, schools etc(not too sleepy) are 20 to 45 minutes away from the smaller cities and are much cheaper for housing(and less to no lineups at the hospital!). Being closer to a city is of course is more expensive so it gets cheaper the farther you are willing to drive. Some towns have thriving artistic communtites or are tourist areas for beauty.
Real Estate Market Performance in Canada
There have been a number of reports of late that highlight the great potential for future growth in the Canadian housing market, with some experts suggesting that house prices could double over the next 20 years. This generous assumption is actually based upon a number of factual issues which are happening within Canada, including :-
A change in the demographics of the population
The next 20 years are expected to see an increase in the so-called “baby boomers” sector of older people who have money to spend. While historically it has been assumed that the older generation is not very active in the housing market, research in Canada suggests that many will downsize to smaller properties. This will create an increase in demand for these types of properties, and leave the larger properties for some of the younger areas of the population.
Immigration in Canada
Canada is starting to see a growing interest in immigration with 2/3rds of the rise in the population since 2001 due to immigration – a trend which many see continuing. This will in itself create a need for new housing, thereby feeding the economy, taxes, inward investment, etc – which will then attract more immigrants.
The Canadian authorities have been very welcoming of immigrants that fill many of the higher qualified positions in the employment market.
The Canadian Mortgage Market
The Canadian mortgage market is yet to develop in line with many of the developed world, with such mortgage types as interest only, etc only just becoming available to the masses. It is forecast that the increased flexibility of the situation will result in more of the population buying their homes outright.
Canada is fast becoming a very interesting property market, and when foreign investors finally realize the potential there will no doubt be a vast array of property hot spots in the larger cities.
Real Estate Costs in Canada
The Canadian property market makes use of Realtor’s which are basically Property Agents who will help you find your dream property, arrange viewings and follow the process through from offer to final agreement. Unlike the UK and other countries, the seller will normally pick up the fee for the Realtor, on a commission only basis, if they cannot find you a house they will not get paid.
It is also the Realtor’s obligation to make you aware of the overall cost structure, laws, etc. Any costs that the buyer may incur are normally administered by province and may differ widely (local laws and regulations must be checked thoroughly).
Use your Realtor to get the most information about costs, the market, etc and always employ the services of a local property lawyer before actually completing the deal.
The property market in Canada has been able to weather the financial downturn that has been sweeping the global property market. The resale home prices of homes throughout the country have been able to recover quickly even exceeding all expectations in these rough financial times.