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Canadian Mortgage Broker News - Canadas real estate market outlook for 2011 “decent”: PwC

Canadian Mortgage Broker News - Canadas real estate market outlook for 2011 “decent”: PwC

Canada's real estate market outlook for 2011 “decent”: PwC
Tuesday, 2 November 2010

2011 promises slowing, steady growth and decent prospects for Canadian real estate investors as long as the U.S. economy does not drag them down, according to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2011 report, released by PwC and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). The report reflects interviews with and surveys of more than 875 of the industry's leading real estate experts, including investors, developers, lenders, brokers and consultants in both Canada and the U.S.

According to the report, Canadian property owners and financial institutions cannot help contrasting their reasonably healthy condition with precarious U.S. markets. Canadian fundamentals trend near equilibrium, employment is recovering and banks boast sound balance sheets, putting Canada in a better place and boosting confidence that the local market can escape issues faced in the U.S. However respondents say a weak U.S. dollar and sputtering U.S. economy dampen cross-border commerce, especially hurting Ontario industrial markets, which serve Midwestern U.S. manufacturing centres.

"The big difference for Canada has been the sound condition of its banks," said Chris Potter, leader of the Real Estate Tax practice for PwC Canada. "We have no distressed banks and few distressed owners and sales. Now, rising interest rates coupled with tight bank requirements and broader economic concerns tamper down a recent home buying spurt, particularly in Ontario and B.C., where purchasers stepped up activity before HST went into effect."

While capital returns, investment opportunities will be limited. Institutions dominate the major central city markets, holding on to assets for steady income instead of trading. Emerging Trends respondents exemplify the hold-on mentality: they think it is a good time to buy, but do not want to sell. In this "compressing cap rate" environment, many deal-starved Canadians will be active in the U.S., where they should have greater opportunity to spend and find higher yields.

Canada has one of the world's healthiest capital markets and few borrowers confront refinancing issues. Overall in 2011, Emerging Trends respondents expect a reasonable balance in debt market capital availability and an oversupply of equity capital, the result of non-satiated buyers.

"In Canada, the real estate industry didn't get overleveraged and the markets never suffered any interruption of credit availability," said Holly Allen, leader of the Real Estate Deals practice for PwC Canada. "Canadian banks benefit from a combination of institutional risk aversion and relatively stringent government regulation."

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