“You have to take a longer-term view,” said Phil Soper, CEO, Royal LePage. “When the American economy expands, the Canadian one almost always does too.”
While Soper admits that the collapse of oil and commodities should create “heightened diligence for investors,” he feels any sustained gloominess could be misguided.
“I saw a number this week that 95% of the time the American economy has expanded over the past three decades, so has Canada’s. The question might be, is this one of the 5% of times when you bet against that?,” he said. “While oil is certainly driving down the Canadian dollar and sending negative reverberations throughout the economy, history would indicate that with the degree of expansion we’re seeing south of the border, there will be winners in Canada.”
Some markets are already seeing an uptick in activity, particularly in Alberta’s commercial sector.
“American investors are being cautious, but they clearly see this is a potential opportunity to get into the market at the best entry point they’ve seen in years, and they would be right,” Soper said.
In the residential market, however, Soper says that American and other foreign buyers are turning their attention to Canadian luxury and recreational property.
“If they can invest and hold for the medium to long-term, their prospects are pretty good,” he said. “Canmore, Whistler and Mont Tremblant are seeing much more interest that wasn’t there for years when the American economy was in recession and American real estate prices were underwater.”
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While the falling value of the Canadian dollar has hampered growth in such markets as Manitoba and Quebec, some experts are cautioning against an overly pessimistic outlook, arguing that the markets uncertainty may end up being short-lived.