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I hadn't checked the AB gov't tally of major projects recently. Seems that the bottom is in - though I'd wait to see what happens when the stimulus is withdrawn. Pretty clear explanation of the unemployment spike in AB too.

November '09: $239878.0 x 10^6

Previous totals (dredged-up from old comments):

May '09: $238791.3 x 10^6
April '09: $234001.2 x 10^6
February '09: $261735.9 x 10^6
December '08: $270727.3 x 10^6
November '08: $279300.0 x 10^6
October '08: $286527.2 x 10^6


Puzzling why Canada should have seen what seems like proportionally higher levels of housing starts than the U.S. over an extended period but it is the U.S. that has excess inventory. Also puzzling that construction employment has climbed much more on a percentage basis in Canada and is higher on a proportional basis (more undocumented workers in the U.S. I expect, but still), and yet again it is the U.S., not Canada with the oversupply.

What am I missing? Are household formation rates higher in Canada for some reason (maybe Americans build bigger houses that hold more people and/or their families are larger)? Did we start from a lower base in these charts? Or is it just that the U.S. bubble burst and Canada's hasn't yet?

I'd hate to think we were *beginning* a housing bubble. Given that we'd be starting (in Vancouver) with some of the highest price/rent and price/income ratios currently existing anywhere on the planet and the highest in the history of the housing market in Canada, a bubble that is just *starting* from these levels could get somewhat unpleasant - it's lucky that all of the massive growth in mortgage debt currently being taken on is guaranteed by taxpayers....

Disproportionate increase in construction employment perhaps due to the (distortionary) home renovations tax credit?

Is anyone going to draw a connection between this post and the discussion of housing purchase decisions in Nick's post on teaching finance to first year undergrads?

I've only had time to skim this, but it looks very good, and relevant:
H/T Mark Thoma

It is good, although I don't think there's anything there that hasn't been brought up here at various times. But they do have some new numbers.

Though this likely doesn't alter your conclusions, it would be better to plot the levels relative to some base to account for proportion differences.

Like construction as a share of total employment or housing starts as a share of households/populations/etc...

You're right. I did try other things, but they didn't look as good. I finally went with this for no better reason than the fact that the units were easy to understand. The crucial thing I wanted to point out was the timing of the Canadian turning point and the fact that the US is still falling.

And people in BC and Ontario buying before the HST is applied to some home sales.

"...it's lucky that all of the massive growth in mortgage debt currently being taken on is guaranteed by taxpayers...."

Which, in turn, is partly responsible for driving up the prices.

I agree with Mark. Would have preferred to see the time series indexed to 100.


What will the charts look like when and if prime rates creep up over 4%? Current Cdn rate is 2.25%.

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