Saskatoon Housing Bubble. To take a look at the short and long term fundamentals of the Saskatoon real estate market. To prove that Saskatoon and other parts of Canada have a housing bubble. Also looking at how the possible commodity bubble and troubles in places like China, the US and Europe will have on Saskatoon real estate.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Is Saskatoon really booming? Mayor says yes, CIBC says no
"Atchison told around 400 people at a Chamber of Commerce Luncheon that Saskatoon is ‘emerging’ as the country’s economic driver led by huge and continued growth in the mining sector.
No doubt that the mining sector is growing but, the stats show that Saskatoon was not a economic driver at the end of 2010. More on this later.
Atchison lamented a continued mentality where people don’t believe that growth can be sustained over the course of a number of years. “We need to change our state of mind and think of all the good things that are happening for us,” he said."
Led by growth in the “food, fuel, and fertilizer” industries, the city will hit the 300,000 mark by 2020 and Saskatoon “is well on (its) way to half-a-million people,” he said.
All I will say is 'where is most of the growth coming from?' One word and it starts with C and ends with REDIT. There has not been a new potash mine built in Saskatchewan in over 40 years and less than 2% of Saskatoon's working population actually work in mining. There is a higher % of people who live and work in Saskatoon that are employed by Walmart and Home Depot than mining. And the nearest that oil and gas can be found is about an hour and a half away.
Here is a map showing Saskatchewan mineral resources.
I would love to see the city hit the 300,000 mark but with affordable housing for everybody.
CIBC stats show that Saskatoon is in the middle of the pack as a economic driver
The macro variables used to develop the index are: (1) Population growth, (2) Employment growth, (3) Unemployment rate, (4) Full-time share in total employment, (5) Personal bankruptcy rate, (6) Business bankruptcy rate, (7) Housing starts, (8) MLS Housing resales, and (9) Non-Residential building permits. We combined all the above information into one index per city: "The CIBCWM Metropolitan Economic Activity Index"1.
We can see that while Saskatoon had the biggest population growth of the major centers it had the third worst employment growth (actually negative). MLS unit sales were in the bottom half while average prices were in the upper half. For some more economic variables from CIBC go here.
I have said all along that most of the boom this city is experiencing is based on debt. From the Federal Government stimulus projects injecting tens of millions of dollars into the local economy. The Provincial Government has increased spending over 30% over the last 3 and a half years. The City of Saskatoon has doubled spending in the last 5 years, while Saskatoon consumers have led or been near the top of consumer spending growth in the nation at the same time. All of this is unsustainable over the long term as credit growth over the past decade mushroomed.
I would ask if Saskatoon is really booming, are public and private balance sheets in order to weather a downturn?