Vancouver’s housing bubble is more extreme today than California’s was a few years ago, says one of the U.S.’s most renowned housing market analysts.

Robert Shiller, co-creator of the Case-Shiller Index, which measures U.S. house prices, told BNN late last week that "Vancouver looks like part of California" when it comes to its housing market.

“Canada didn’t have the crash we had in the U.S.,” Shiller said. “It’s just continuing to grow and it’s accumulating into some big price increases. So it’s looking like the bubble is — or at least has been, until recently — still alive in Canada.”

Shiller displayed a chart showing Vancouver house prices, adjusted for inflation, exceeding growth rates seen in San Francisco at the height of its bubble.

“San Francisco is a bubble city that’s talked about as one of the major boom and bust cities in the U.S.,” Shiller said. “They’re no different in Vancouver, in fact it’s worse in Vancouver.”

The Yale University economist said that “Vancouver is San Francisco, lagging by a few years.”

He added: “I have Vancouver doubling (house prices) in 22 years. So that’s even bigger than San Francisco['s bubble]. I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not investing in Vancouver real estate.”

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  • Vancouver - $299,999

    #302-2333 ETON ST Building Type : Apartment Bedrooms : 2 Bathrooms : 1 Floor Space : 765 sqft Storeys : 1 Built in : 1988 Title : Condominium/Strata Maintenance Fees : $287.53 Monthly

  • Vancouver - $299,999

    #302-2333 ETON ST

  • Vancouver - $299,999

    #302-2333 ETON ST

  • Vancouver - $199,999

    1640 KENT AV Building Type : House Bedrooms : 1 Bathrooms : 2 Floor Space : 860 sqft Storeys : 2 Built in : 1993

  • Vancouver - $199,999

    1640 KENT AV

  • Vancouver - $199,999

    1640 KENT AV

  • Richmond - $299,900

    #3-8400 COOK RD Building Type : Apartment Bedrooms : 1 Bathrooms : 1 Floor Space : 607 sqft Storeys : 1 Built in : 2010 Title : Condominium/Strata

  • Richmond - $299,900

    #3-8400 COOK RD

  • Surrey - $300,000

    #A4-19296 72A AVE Building Type : Row / Townhouse Bedrooms : 3 Bathrooms : 4 Floor Space : 1298 sqft Storeys : 3 Built in : 2012 Title : Condominium/Strata

  • Surrey - $300,000

    #A4-19296 72A AVE

  • Surrey - $300,000

    #A4-19296 72A AVE

  • Whistler - $299,000

    #6-2720 CHEAKAMUS WY Building Type : Row / Townhouse Bedrooms : 1 Bathrooms : 1 Floor Space : 668 sqft Storeys : 1 Built in : 1998 Title : Condominium/Strata

  • Whistler - $299,000

    #6-2720 CHEAKAMUS WY

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    #6-2720 CHEAKAMUS WY

  • Prince George - $299,900

    3049 RIDGEVIEW DR Building Type : House Bedrooms : 4 Bathrooms : 3 Floor Space : 2274 sqft Storeys : 4 Built in : 1977 Land Size : 0.28 ac Title : Freehold

  • Prince George - $299,900

    3049 RIDGEVIEW DR

  • Prince George - $299,900

    3049 RIDGEVIEW DR

  • Kamloops - $299,900

    814-15 HUDSONS BAY TRAIL Building Type : Row / Townhouse Bedrooms : 3 Bathrooms : 3 Floor Space : 1904 sqft Title : Freehold

  • Kamloops - $299,900

    814-15 HUDSONS BAY TRAIL

  • Kamloops - $299,900

    814-15 HUDSONS BAY TRAIL

  • Kelowna - $299,900

    1881 Ambrosi Road # 10 Bedrooms : 2 Bathrooms : 2 Floor Space : 1174 sqft Storeys : 2 Built in : 2012 Land Size : under 1 acre Title : Condominium/Strata Maintenance Fees : $121.74 Monthly

  • Kelowna - $299,900

    1881 Ambrosi Road # 10

  • Kelowna - $299,900

    1881 Ambrosi Road # 10

  • Nelson - $309,000

    304 HIGH ST Building Type : House Bedrooms : 3 Bathrooms : 1 Floor Space : 1148 sqft Storeys : 2 Built in : 9999 Land Size : 0.163 ac

  • Nelson - $309,000

    304 HIGH ST

  • Nelson - $309,000

    304 HIGH ST

  • Cranbrook - $299,900

    203 S 8TH ST Building Type : House Bedrooms : 4 Bathrooms : 3 Floor Space : 2170 sqft Storeys : 1 Built in : 1994

  • Cranbrook - $299,900

    203 S 8TH ST

  • Cranbrook - $299,900

    203 S 8TH ST

  • Abbotsford - $302,900

    #11-31255 UPPER MACLURE RD Building Type : Row / Townhouse Bedrooms : 3 Bathrooms : 2 Floor Space : 1186 sqft Storeys : 2 Built in : 1992

  • Abbotsford - $302,900

    #11-31255 UPPER MACLURE RD

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    #11-31255 UPPER MACLURE RD

  • Prince Rupert - $299,000

    1541 OVERLOOK ST Building Type : House Bedrooms : 5 Bathrooms : 3 Floor Space : 2300 sqft Storeys : 3 Built in : 1968 Land Size : 0.229 ac

  • Prince Rupert - $299,000

    1541 OVERLOOK ST

  • Prince Rupert - $299,000

    1541 OVERLOOK ST

  • Smithers - $309,500

    4314 JACKPINE RD Building Type : House Bedrooms : 5 Bathrooms : 2 Floor Space : 2434 sqft Storeys : 4 Built in : 1996 Land Size : 5 ac

  • Smithers - $309,500

    4314 JACKPINE RD

  • Smithers - $309,500

    4314 JACKPINE RD

  • Kitimat - $299,000

    96 ANDERSON ST Building Type : House Bedrooms : 4 Bathrooms : 3 Floor Space : 2300 sqft Storeys : 2 Built in : 1974 Land Size : 0.186 ac

  • Kitimat - $299,000

    96 ANDERSON ST

  • Kitimat - $299,000

    96 ANDERSON ST

  • Victoria - $299,900

    304-751 Goldstream Ave Building Type : Apartment Bedrooms : 2 Bathrooms : 2 Floor Space : 1030 sqft Built in : 2010 Land Size : 1113 sqft View : City view Title : Condominium/Strata

  • Victoria - $299,900

    304-751 Goldstream Ave

  • Victoria - $299,900

    304-751 Goldstream Ave

  • Nanaimo - $299,900

    1691 NAIRNE ROAD Building Type : House Bedrooms : 4 Bathrooms : 2 Floor Space : 1870 sqft Built in : 1967 Land Size : irregular Title : Freehold

  • Nanaimo - $299,900

    1691 NAIRNE ROAD

  • Nanaimo - $299,900

    1691 NAIRNE ROAD

  • Cortes Island - $279,000

    1411 ROBERTSON ROAD Building Type : House Bedrooms : 2 Bathrooms : 1 Floor Space : 1116 sqft Built in : 1975 Land Size : 2.71 ac Title : Freehold

  • Cortes Island - $279,000

    1411 ROBERTSON ROAD

  • Cortes Island - $279,000

    1411 ROBERTSON ROAD

  • Dawson Creek - $279,000

    1552 109 AVE Building Type : House Bedrooms : 4 Bathrooms : 2 Floor Space : 1100 sqft Storeys : 1.5 Built in : 1962 Land Size : 73 X 130 Title : Freehold


Shiller’s comments come as evidence grows that both Toronto and Vancouver’s housing markets are now coming under severe downward pressure. Toronto home sales fell 12.5 per cent in August, compared to a year earlier, while Vancouver’s housing market saw a substantial 30.7 per cent drop in the same period, marking its worst month of sales since 1998.

The federal government has tightened mortgage rules four times in recent years, in an effort to cool off what many sees as overheated prices. The most recent changes lowered the maximum amortization period on a government-insured mortgage to 25 years, from 30, and reduced the amount homeowners can borrow against their home equity, from 85 per cent to 80 per cent.

The changes were implemented even as some Canadian housing markets showed signs of softening. Brian Hurley, CEO of mortgage issuer Genworth Canada, blamed the changes for the visible softening of the housing market in August.

These are pretty dramatic changes, and I think they’re getting close to the tipping point,” he said, as quoted at the Globe and Mail. “We see really qualified first-time home buyers with very high credit scores now not meeting the bar because they can’t afford a 25-year amortization. These people should be getting a home.”

The outlook for September looks little better. BMO economist Doug Porter said in a note Monday morning that he expects upcoming housing starts and sales numbers to show that the sector “is cooling down in a big way in Canada.”

He expects housing starts to drop four per cent, and nationwide sales to show a decline of nine per cent year over year.

Some economists argue the slowdown does not mean the market was ever in a bubble. Tsur Somerville, director of UBC’s Centre for Urban Economics, says the Vancouver market hasn’t had the kind of irrational exuberance that bubble market exhibit.

You can’t burst a bubble that wasn’t there,” he told the Vancouver Province.

Related on HuffPost:

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  • 10: New York City - 6.2

    The number shown is the housing affordability ratio -- a measure that shows how much a median home costs relative to median incomes in a given city. Historically, a typical ratio has been around three. Source: Demographia, <a href="http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf" target="_hplink"><em>8th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey</em></a>

  • 9: Auckland, New Zealand - 6.4

    Source: Demographia, <a href="http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf" target="_hplink"><em>8th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey</em></a>

  • Adelaide, Australia - 6.7

    Source: Demographia, <a href="http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf" target="_hplink"><em>8th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey</em></a>

  • San Francisco - 6.7

    Source: Demographia, <a href="http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf" target="_hplink"><em>8th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey</em></a>

  • London - 6.9

    Source: Demographia, <a href="http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf" target="_hplink"><em>8th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey</em></a>

  • San Jose, California - 6.9

    Source: Demographia, <a href="http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf" target="_hplink"><em>8th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey</em></a>

  • Melbourne, Australia - 8.4

    Source: Demographia, <a href="http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf" target="_hplink"><em>8th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey</em></a>

  • Sydney - 9.2

    Source: Demographia, <a href="http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf" target="_hplink"><em>8th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey</em></a>

  • Vancouver - 10.6

    Source: Demographia, <a href="http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf" target="_hplink"><em>8th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey</em></a>

  • Hong Kong - 12.6

    Source: Demographia, <a href="http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf" target="_hplink"><em>8th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey</em></a>


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  • 12. Vancouver: $18.9 Million

    <strong>4798 Drummond, Vancouver:</strong> Located in Vancouver's posh Point Grey neighbourhood, this house features 15,000 square feet of living space across eight bedrooms, a circular driveway, fountain and gazebo.

  • 12. Vancouver: $18.9 Million

    The circular grand foyer features marble floors. There is also a pool room (with a steam room and sauna), a media room, game room and recreation room. The garage fits eight vehicles.

  • 11. Toronto: $18.9 Million

    <strong>75 Highland Crescent, Toronto:</strong> This house boasts "breathtaking views of the city skyline." There are four bedrooms and six bathrooms in this "smart home" that features "Porsche design" entry systems, security cameras, a power entry gate and a car elevator.

  • 11. Toronto - $18.9 Million

    The house has a walk-in pool and sauna, a hot tub, a games room and a climate-controlled wine cellar. There's also an outdoor sound system with which to annoy your wealthy neighbours.

  • 10. Oakville, Ont.: $18.9 Million

    <strong>2100 Lakeshore East, Oakville:</strong> This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house.

  • 10. Oakville, Ont.: $18.9 Million

    The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat.

  • 10. Oakville, Ont.: $18.9 Million

    Check out this virtual tour.

  • 9. Austin, Quebec: $18.9 Million

    <strong>105 Chemin Fisher, Austin:</strong> The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog.

  • 9. Austin, Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a <em>barn</em> on the property was declared a historical site.

  • 8. Caledon, Ont.: $19 Million

    <strong>17485 McLaren Rd., Caledon, Ont.:</strong> No fewer than ten bedrooms and seventeen bathrooms in this house in Toronto's cottage country. The terrain features ravines, ponds and rolling farmland. Not to mention a spa, tennis court, pool room and a hobby workshop.

  • 8. Caledon, Ont.: $19 Million

    The realtor boasts that this property has been "in the same family for almost 100 years." One has to wonder whether this was intentional, given how long this estate has been on the market (it was there this time last year as well.) Nevertheless, a fantastic and absolutely classy dining room in this house.

  • 7. Toronto: $19.5 Million

    <strong>346 Riverview, Toronto:</strong> Located in Toronto's prestigious Rosedale district, this six-bedroom, 11-bathroom house sits on a one-acre lot. Fourteen-foot ceilings, a wine cellar and an orangerie are among the features to be found here.

  • 7. Toronto: $19.5 Million

    The modernist interior design is complemented by a basement home theatre, gym and a spa featuring its own sauna and steam rooms.

  • 6. Vancouver: $19.8 Million

    <strong>4880 Drummond, Vancouver:</strong> Yet another house in Vancouver's Point Grey neighbourhood has made this list, this time a 9,000-square-foot mansion featuring seven bedrooms and bathrooms, and a four-car garage.

  • 6. Vancouver: $19.8 Million

    The realtor promises "gorgeous water views" from many parts of the house, including the kitchen. The property features an exercise room and pool room, an extra-large master bedroom suite (also with ocean views), and this home theatre done up in a slightly art-deco style.

  • 5. Vancouver: $19.9 Million

    <strong>5771 Newton, Vancouver:</strong> There aren't too many private homes to be found on the splendidly isolated grounds of the University of British Columbia, but this property near Northwest Marine Drive is one. Seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms in this 12,000-square-foot home.

  • 5. Vancouver: $19.9 Million

    The house features a "bonus wok kitchen," as the realtor describes it, on top of its regular kitchen, and the house in all boasts a games room, professional calibre gym, an indoor pool and granite floors. The patio is big enough to hold a wedding party, according to the realtor.

  • 5. Vancouver: $19.9 Million

    Check out this virtual tour.

  • 4. Toronto: $28 Million

    <strong>1400-155 Cumberland, Toronto:</strong> This condo in Toronto's Yorkville district (the heart of the film festival) is monstrous by apartment standards: 10,000 square feet on two floors. Four bedrooms, five baths and "breathtaking views."

  • 4. Toronto: $28 Million

    All but two of the condo's rooms open on a 5,000-square-foot terrace. The house features a library and a wine cellar, and comes with no fewer than four parking spots -- a heck of a lot by Toronto standards.

  • 4. Toronto: $28 Million

    Check out this virtual tour.

  • 3. Vancouver: $28.8 Million

    <strong>PH01-1011 West Cordova, Vancouver:</strong> This condo may well be located in the most prestigious apartment building in Canada -- no other building has had units featured in HuffPost's "most expensive" lists quite as often as 1011 West Cordova, also known as The Fairmont Pacific Rim.

  • 3. Vancouver: $28.8 Million

    Penthouse 1 is described as the most prestigious condo in the building, and features two levels of living space and multiple patios and rooftop gardens. With only three bedrooms, the condo works out to $9.6 million per bedroom.

  • 2. Vancouver: $31.9 Million

    <strong>3390 The Crescent, Vancouver:</strong> Villa Russe, as this estate is known, is located in Vancouver's Shaugnessy Heights and features six bedrooms (the master bedroom has three dressing rooms), five fireplaces and eight bathrooms.

  • 2. Vancouver: $31.9 Million

    Given how expensive this property is, we're a little surprised the sellers stress walking-distance access to amenities. But in Vancouver, even residents of homes that feature their own greenhouses, heated pools and fish ponds prefer to walk sometimes.

  • 1. Vancouver: $34 Million

    <strong>5365 Seaside Place, West Vancouver:</strong> We thought we'd show you the pool house first, just because it looks so cool.

  • 1. Vancouver: $34 Million

    This house on a peninsula in ritzy West Vancouver features four bedrooms and six baths over 9,000 square feet -- spacious indeed.

  • 1. Vancouver: $34 Million

    Six hundred and fifty feet of natural shoreline on this property.

  • 1. Vancouver: $34 Million

    The house was rebuilt in 2008, and features geothermal heating and integrated lighting and security. The boat house will fit anything up to 40 feet long, and the garage fits five cars.