TORONTO â€” Canadaâ€™s millennials may have another reason to dislike Donald Trump: he could make affording a home on this side of the border even more difficult.
A Trump administration in the U.S. could send Canadian house prices even higher â€” perversely because the Republican would make the U.S. economy worse, a conference on Canadaâ€™s economic future heard Wednesday.
â€śA Trump victory will boost the Canadian housing market,â€ť Linda Nazareth, a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, said at The Economistâ€™s Canada Summit in Toronto.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in San Jose, Calif. earlier this month. (Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
The panel was discussing â€śwhat ifsâ€ť for Canadaâ€™s economy, and the possibility of a Trump presidency was the first hypothetical situation brought up.
Nazareth said Trumpâ€™s â€śrisky economic policiesâ€ť â€” such as opposition to free trade deals â€” would hurt the U.S. economy, forcing the countryâ€™s interest rates to stay low for longer.
And since U.S. interest rates affect Canadian interest rates, that would mean lower interest rates â€” and lower mortgage payments â€” in Canada.
Americans moving to Canada?
Nazareth isnâ€™t the only one arguing that The Donald could boost house prices north of the border. Real estate agency Royal LePage earlier this year speculated that a Trump victory could push some Americans to move north, putting further pressure on house prices here.
â€śThe economic miracle that is contemporary Canada is driven in significant measure by our success at attracting quality immigrants to our land,â€ť Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper said, as quoted in the National Post.
â€śWhile this is not new news, the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency has put renewed global focus on the often stark differences in opportunity and attitude that exist on either side of our huge border.â€ť
Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks at the 'Canada Summit: Disrupting the Status Quo,' in Toronto on Wednesday. (Photo: Eduardo Lima/CP)
Panelists at Wednesdayâ€™s summit were asked repeatedly if they believed Canada is in the midst of a housing bubble â€” and no one would respond.
That was true of Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who didnâ€™t answer the question directly but conceded that itâ€™s a â€śhuge issueâ€ť for Canadians, and a â€ścomplicatedâ€ť one as well.
â€śWe are looking very carefullyâ€ť at developments in the housing market, Morneau said, noting his government already took steps to cool the market with a recent tightening of mortgage rules.
Relentless price growth
Canadaâ€™s hottest housing markets need little help from Trumpâ€™s policies or anything else.
House prices in Toronto were up 15.7 per cent in May, compared to a year earlier, while in Vancouver they are up 29.7 per cent.
Home sales volumes in both of the countryâ€™s hottest housing markets are up by double digits from a year ago, but appear to have stabilized in recent months. Total sales have stayed largely the same month after month in both cities this spring, despite soaring prices.