Volatile times make for interesting housing market

Over the summer months one may take themselves on a rollercoaster ride or two, and one can usually count on one’s investments to be rather safe over the summer months as nothing generally happens other than the price of fuel fluctuating upwards.

But the events that have unfolded over the past four weeks have been nothing short of extraordinary and they will again – as they did in mid-2009 – create real estate opportunities for those in a relatively safe economy.

Alberta is definitely not protected from the wrath of recessions; however the past one wasn’t as bad as all expected here in Alberta. Sure the price of oil tumbled for a short while, which seemed to be more of a oil and gas traders’ dream but demand truly didn’t subside too badly and our economy wasn’t hurt like it was in the late 70s and early 80s.

Governments around the world learned that lesson and swiftly poured money into the market so as to thwart that danger.

We don’t often applaud our government, but something has to be said about how they handled the past three years and we surely aren’t out of the woods just yet, but our economy is on more solid ground than most around the world.

A lot of it has to do with our banking system and Canadians as a rule being more conservative than our southern and overseas counterparts.

Some might say that it’s out of pure luck that we were on the verge of moving towards that reckless system of lending, but either way it didn’t happen and here we are today on mostly firm ground.

The Canadian consumer has been very fortunate compared to many around the world whereas we have houses that are affordable, especially in this interest rate environment and our entrepreneurs are creating jobs so that many can buy their dream homes.

Surely there’ve been some bumps along the way, and I’ve helped many people keep their homes and solve their debt problems, but they were a minority compared to the clientele that came in extremely prepared with a down payment and just needed a bit of guidance to help them along their path to home ownership.

For a short while many of the drilling and oilsands projects were shelved due to the low price of oil at the end of 2008 and early 2009 but all of those projects and a few more have been added to the list as it seems oil companies have seen demand come back quicker than originally thought and aren’t as frightened of the fluctuation as they were then.

We are currently witnessing volatile times as the market can shave trillions of dollars of value one day and then gain it back over the next two. The markets are definitely on shaky ground and this makes for a very interesting housing market, especially here in Alberta as interest rates have tumbled to lows that no one has ever seen before thus lowering the cost of homeownership.

I’d like to think that this volatility is going away and all is going to be normal, but what is normal? Is this the new normal?

Are we just going to have to live with these debt crises’ across the globe for the next few years as countries grapple with their debt loads?

Realistically we are in a global economy whether we like it or not and we may be shielded from it more so than most, but I know many business owners and investors alike are out there salivating at the prospects of the profits that are out there for the taking as these low interest rate times can make fortunes in the future. And if you are in it for the long run, try not to watch the roller coaster too closely as it can make you sick.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is an Accredited Mortgage Professional with Dominion Lending Centres-Regional Mortgage Group and can be contacted for appointments at 403-343-1125, texted to 403-391-2552 or emailed to jturcotte@regionalmortgage.ca.

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