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Canada’s China Problem Is Greater than Its Housing Problem

vancouverBrian Bosse was the token Canadian this year at my annual Valuex Vail conference for value investors, his third time at the conference. Brian is vice president at Goodman & Co., Investment Counsel, where he works for one of the smartest, richest and nicest men in Canada: Ned Goodman.

 When Brian and I discussed his presentation, I asked him to give us something on Canadian banks. I keep hearing that Canada is in the midst of its own real estate bubble, and I wonder if our northern neighbor will have its own banking crisis soon. Brian loved the idea of exploring this idea, but he did not really know what he would discover. (Also, when he gave his talk he felt the need to enlighten Americans by showing them pictures of Canada’s largest export, movie stars, and every few slides he inserted pictures of Canadian actors we think are American — take a look at his presentation for examples.)

 Brian made a very compelling case that even though housing prices look somewhat high in Canada, the bulk of appreciation is limited to Vancouver and Toronto. Moreover, Toronto is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the country — it has 154 construction cranes — and it is adding jobs faster than the rest of Canada. Thus real estate prices in Vancouver and Toronto should not be compared with those of most U.S. cities but instead with those of other destination towns, such as New York City.

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