1. "Canada is Different!" - and this is something I heard back in 2007. "This time, it's different!" - and they were right, too. The housing bubble of 2009 was "different" in that it was ten times the size of the one in 1989. The Canadian economy, while somewhat more Socialist than the United States, does not operate in any fundamentally different manner than the US. In fact, all economies work about the same way - people buy things, people sell things. When governments intervene, economies go underground. Sorry, no, nothing in Canada is "different" to make it immune from housing bubbles, and the fact people offer me this lame excuse tells me one is about to happen.2. "Chinese Investors!" - see my comment about Brazilian (and British) investors, which were supposed to soak up all those condos in South Florida. It didn't happen, or at least not enough to buy all the housing stock that hit the market, almost simultaneously, in 2007.3. "Soft Landing!" - When people argue there will be a soft landing, that is a tacit admission there is a bubble. Now the debate is only how bad it will be when it bursts. Again, this was bandied about in South Florida circa 2007.4. "There have never been Bubbles!" - Some Canadians have tried to convince me that there have never been housing bubbles in Canada before (ergo, by that "logic" one cannot exist now). I Googled "Canada Housing Bubble" and found several hits about bubbles in the past, particularly in Toronto. Today, you can't find these hits, as they are buried by all the hits about today's housing bubble, particularly with regard to condos. Which leads us to....5. "Everyone is talking about the Bubble Bursting!" - and talking they were in 2005, 2006, and 2007 in Florida and Las Vegas and across the USA. But for some reason, people kept on buying properties and others kept on with the bubble-denial talk. The latter is not hard to understand - people have paid dearly for a new condo, and they don't want to feel they have made a mistake.
UPDATE: Another factor to consider is the staggeringly high cost of living in Canada. We love to visit Canada in the summer, but the traffic is decidedly one-way. Canadians can vacation in the US for far less than what we pay to vacation in Canada. Gasoline and Booze are particularly expensive, as are dairy products.
As a result, most Canadians shop across the border when they can. A majority of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border, and it is easy to pop across the border, fill up with gas and groceries, and then head back home.
Target made news recently when they decided to bail out of their ill-fated Canadian operations. They failed to realize that no one was going to go to a Canadian Target and pay "Canadian Prices" for goods that they could get an hour's drive away in the States.
So a small upset to the economy (such as the collapse of oil prices) could have a ripple effect on the Canadian economy. Canadians have some of the highest household and mortgage debt, relative to the rest of the world, already. It could get worse, in a real hurry.
The Canadian dollar has dropped in value in recent years - dramatically in recent months. While it was once worth a buck-twenty-five US, it is now down to a mere 80 cents. This bodes well for exports, but makes it harder to the average Canadian citizen to pay their bills.
Oh, Canada! I hope it turns out well. Oil will go back up to $100 a barrel, eventually!