While Americans fret over the state of a sagging economy, most Canadians sit pretty. Longer institutional memories and tighter regulation have encouraged greater discipline in real estate markets. Housing development and lending haven’t gotten out of control and the economy cooks along, underpinned by energy production (oil, gas, coal) in Western provinces. Hydro power in Quebec provides another energy asset.  Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver showcase three of the most vibrant real estate markets in North America. Toronto, meanwhile, stands out as a North American global gateway — attractive condos mushroom along the lakefront and across the center city. High-rise living overtakes single family in a metro offering 24-hour dynamics on a par with Chicago and San Francisco. This trend toward more vertical residences in infill areas closer to work centers will begin to pick up in many other cities as congestion forces more people to choose greater convenience over suburban lifestyles.

Concern grows about the strength of the Canadian dollar, which handicaps manufacturers exporting south of the border, especially around Toronto, North America’s third largest industrial market.  Everyone watches for signals coming out of the States — recession here ultimately dampens outlooks there.

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