Canadian Housing Beats U.S. By A Mile, And All It Took Was Outrageous Debt

Montreal’s relatively sleepy housing market has nearly doubled New York’s price growth.

When it comes to housing wealth, Canadians have been kicking the pants off their southern neighbours for at least two decades.

That might not come as a shock these days, but an analysis of house price indexes by real estate blog Better Dwelling puts some rather eye-opening numbers to the phenomenon.

They compared Canada’s three largest metro areas — Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver — to four U.S. cities Canadians like to compare themselves to, and which also have dynamic economies: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

Canadian Housing Beats U.S. By A Mile, And All It Took Was Outrageous

What they found was that the weakest of the Canadian markets beat even the strongest of the U.S. markets on house price growth since January, 2001.

That weakest Canadian market would be Montreal, which has seen nothing close to the house price spikes seen in Toronto and Vancouver. Despite that, Montreal beat the fastest-growing U.S. market, Los Angeles, by 5.4 per cent.

It beat New York by a whopping 84 per cent. And despite Montreal prices rising 27 per cent more than Seattle prices, Seattle appears on lists of markets prone to a housing bubble and Montreal does not.

Still, Montreal’s growth is peanuts compared to Vancouver, where prices grew 75 per cent more than L.A. prices since the start of 2001. Compared to New York, Vancouver prices are up 207 per cent.

One thing to understand about these numbers is that they pick a random point — the start of the century — against which to compare house price growth. 

Any other point would have been equally random, but might show a different outcome. If, hypothetically, New York house prices rose much faster in the 1990s than Canadian house prices, then measuring from 1990 would give you a very different picture.