Archive for the ‘Vancouver real estate’ Category

What can we expect from the Canadian housing market in 2019

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

After a screeching halt sometimes comes a crash. This was the year when Canada’s housing market hit the brakes. So what will happen in 2019?

Predicting housing prices is famously difficult. And forecasting housing meltdowns like the one that nearly brought down the global financial system in 2008 may be downright impossible. For now, though, the way experts cautiously paint the future for next year is closer to the picture of a landing plane than that of a rocket ship plummeting earthward.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) sees home sales rebounding a little (2.1 per cent) next year, with home prices roughly keeping up with inflation (2.7 per cent). In Ontario, prices will likely climb a little faster (3.3 per cent) and in British Columbia, a bit more slowly.

Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island can also expect modest price gains, while Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador will experience a small dipping. The forecast for Alberta was stable prices, although that predated the recent oil price plunge.

The big banks expect interest rates to continue to rise to between 2.25 per cent and 2.75 per cent by the end of 2019. And that will keep turning the screws on Canadians’ budgets, with more money going toward mortgage and other debt payments and less left as disposable income. Climbing rates will also continue to raise the bar for wannabe homeowners who to pass the federal mortgage stress test in order to qualify for a new mortgage.

Though a housing crisis next year isn’t impossible, U.S.-based investment giant Vanguard says the risk of a housing crisis — which they define as a severe drop in housing prices in the span of a year that could trigger a recession — continues to be low.

Canada, along with Australia, stands out both for its sky-high housing prices and its gargantuan household debt levels. Home prices have grown by 24 per cent since 1999, compared to 18 per cent in Australia, 13 per cent in the U.S. and 12 per cent in the U.K. The amount that Canadian families owe, meanwhile, is as big as this country’s GDP, a level surpassed only in Australia, where household debt is now larger the size of the economy.

But Todd Schlanger, senior investment strategist at Vanguard Investments Canada, says the Canadian economy will likely continue to grow in 2019, albeit at a slower pace than in 2018.

In Toronto, John Pasalis, president of Realosophy Realty, sees prices staying relatively flat next year.

“I don’t see a massive correction,” he told Global News.

That’s in part because the supply of new homes remains limited in the city.

“If you look at the crashes that happened in the U.S. [subprime mortgage crisis] — in Miami, Phoenix, Las Vegas — those cities were overbuilt, and that’s not what’s happening in Toronto right now.”

Rather than a housing collapse, a more likely scenario is one in which home prices stagnate as household incomes slowly catch up, Pasalis added.

Another factor that might help keep the market stable is that rents are sky-high. This could help sustain the demand from homebuyers.

“At the end of the day, people need a place to live,” he said. And, especially in the downtown core, “it ‘s not like renting is an affordable option.”

In Vancouver, realtor Steve Saretsky sees a “full-blown buyer’s market” with prices that will continue to trend lower for detached homes, condos and townhomes alike.

His advice to buyers is to be patient.

“If you’re buying a home, plan to live there or hold it for the long term,” Saretsky, of Sutton West Coast Realty, told Global News.

Real estate investors shouldn’t count on price gains to make up for negative cash flow, he added.

Home sellers should be realistic.

When sellers fixate on “old peak prices,” they usually end up having to “chase the market down,” watching their asking price gradually fall, he said.

“If you are actually keen on selling, you have to be ahead of the market,” and possibly anticipate future price declines, he added.

In general, Pasalis says it’s important to understand different neighbourhoods. When Toronto home prices started to cool off in 2017, he says he warned clients about buying in areas that had seen high rates of activity by real estate investors. His advice: Don’t buy there or offer 20 per cent less than what homes were selling for a month earlier.

Pasalis correctly predicted that neighbourhoods that had seen some of the sharpest prices increases due to speculative bets would also experience the steepest price drops.

“In a volatile market, this can be the [difference] between making a safe real estate purchase versus seeing the value of your home fall by over $200,000 in a matter of months,” he wrote in a recent blog post.

The risk of price collapses driven by investor pullback is now lower, Pasalis told Global News.

Still, neighbourhood-level dynamics remain key, Saretsky said.

Source: 

Will it crash? Here’s what to expect from the Canadian housing market in 2019

 

B.C. real estate forecast anticipates 2019 sales to edge up

Friday, November 9th, 2018

The British Columbia Real Estate Association estimates that economic growth will remain strong enough to support a boost in sales next year after a substantial decline in 2018, according to its latest forecast.

When the dust settles at the end of this year, association chief economist Cameron Muir expects sales recorded through the Multiple Listing Service will have fallen 23 per cent to 80,000 transactions, compared with 103,768 in 2017.

“However, continuing strong performance in the economy combined with favourable demographics is expected to push home sales above their 10-year average in 2019,” Muir said Thursday in releasing the forecast.

Province wide, Muir’s forecast is for sales to rise 12 per cent to almost 90,000 units, but with a record number of new homes under construction and high levels of inventory, home prices will be more in keeping with inflation.

In Metro Vancouver, that is likely to mean sales in the region covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver bouncing back to 31,400 transactions in 2019 and average prices edging up 2.9 per cent to almost $1.1 million.

In a still changing market, Muir’s forecast is slightly more optimistic than the Canada Mortgage and Housing Association forecast released earlier this week.

“Overall, we anticipate MLS sales to trough in 2018 and see some recovery in 2019 (and 2020),” according to the CMHC forecast, “while average prices will see a relatively flat growth profile with some risk of decline as demand and supply find a new balance.”

In the Lower Mainland regions as defined by the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver real estate boards, the CMHC forecast estimates that while economic conditions are still favourable, slowing population and employment growth have cut into housing demand.

The region covered by the CMHC’s forecast takes in submarkets of both the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley board and in its estimation, the area will likely see higher sales, but faces the likelihood that prices will decline further.

“This reality, when combined with housing policy changes from all levels of government, has resulted in an evolution of short-to-medium-term home price expectations,” according to the forecast, “compared with where they were one to two years ago.”

Source: Derrick Penner, Postmedia

https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/real-estate-forecast-anticipates-2019-sales-to-edge-up-after-2018s-fall

7 reasons why it’s hard to know whether your house will lose value

Friday, April 13th, 2018

In some ways it would be easier to plan if we really knew for sure whether Canadian home prices were about to fall off a cliff as so many people keep predicting.

But of course that’s not how markets work. A difference of opinion about the future is one of the reasons why there is always a buyer for something you are anxious to unload.
Decisions on where the market will go next depend on too many factors to include here.

But as Canadians wait for tomorrow’s latest data on house sales and pricing from the the Canadian Real Estate Association, here are some considerations people may use to gauge if or when house prices will tumble.

1. Interest rates

As usual, the biggest threat cited for home prices is how much we pay for the money we borrow.

In previous times a two percent increase from 8 to 10 percent would be painful but incremental. In the current market, a sudden rise in interest rates, say two or three percentage points, would double the cost of interest payments, popping a decade-long bubble blown up by the Bank of Canada’s artificially low rates.

A more moderate path would give the housing market a chance to adjust. Even if, as expected, our central bank follows the U.S. to higher rates, a lot of uncertainty remains over how fast North American rates will rise.

2. Inflation

The main reason rates could rise suddenly would be that central banks might feel compelled to quell a sudden burst of inflation. So far, inflation has been tame.

Historically, inflation rises and falls in a long cycle and while after the fact economists will tell you why it happened, there are wide differences in opinion over where the cycle is heading next.

While inflation could lead to higher rates, some homeowners may see Canadian property as a long-term inflation hedge.

3. Pent-up demand

In many parts of Canada, not just Vancouver and Toronto, following years of rising prices and bidding wars, housing demand remains strong.

Government policy, including a rule that new buyers must be able to handle interest rate increases, may mean a pent-up demand for housing, including by large numbers of new immigrants, will support prices if incomes begin to catch up.

Even if market conditions begin to change, it may mean house hunters — schooled in a market of ever-rising prices — will take time to adjust to the new reality, leading to a softer landing.

4. Rate of construction

Home building in Canada’s hottest markets remains strong. Toronto’s skyline is still a sea of cranes, and the ground is full of busy holes.

This week the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. revealed that housing starts slowed in March.

The ability of construction companies to keep pace with demand could affect the value of existing homes, with overbuilding leading to falling in prices.

If instead builders overreact to the fear of falling prices and produce too few,  that could have the opposite effect.

5. Investment properties

On my short Toronto block, two houses sit empty. In the bank of condos out the window by my desk, many balconies show little sign of life and the lights don’t go on at night.

Owning a condo in Vancouver or Toronto over the last decade has been a lucrative investment even without the bother of renting.

According to the CIBC that’s changing. As those stunning returns disappear, as author and financial adviser Hilliard MacBeth has said, people may decide to invest their money elsewhere, accelerating a downturn.

6. Economic health

Potential home buyers may be less inclined to go out on a limb if they think the economy is going bad.

Various economic commentators have warned that a pattern where short-term interest rates exceed long-term rates may be a signal that the current long period of economic growth is heading toward recession.

As with inflation, economies go through cycles. A moderate slowdown, however, could reduce the impact of inflation and thus the need to raise interest rates.

That said, strong economic growth creates jobs and increases the wealth of Canadians, making them better able to cover housing costs.

7. Local differences

Partly due to U.S. President Donald Trump’s sabre-rattling over Syria, oil prices seem to be on the way up.

An oil recovery could come to the rescue of home prices in oil-producing areas of Canada, languishing since the 2014 oil price slump.

Interest rates will have an effect on everyone, but whether the price of your house will rise or fall will also depend on where you live or where you want to buy.

Housing prices are regional, and homes in areas that are in demand because the economy is strong or because they are close to services are more likely to hold their value.

Source: Don Pittis, Business reporter, CBC

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canada-real-estate-home-prices-1.4613215

B.C. home sales to fall as interest rates rise, but prices will stay strong

Friday, March 9th, 2018

Real estate experts in British Columbia predict residential home sales will dip this year but remain well above the province’s 10-year average, although they warn rising interest rates could leave some B.C. households “vulnerable.”

The British Columbia Real Estate Association has released its 2018 first quarter housing forecast, showing residential sales are expected to fall 8.6 per cent to 94,855 units this year, with the decline continuing into 2019.

The projected skid follows the 7.5 per cent decrease recorded last year but the association says residential sales in B.C. are still well above the 10-year average of 84,800 units.

Strong employment growth, consumer confidence and more workers moving to B.C. are credited for the booming housing market over the last four years, including 2016, when a record 112,209 homes changed hands.

But the association predicts the pace of sales will cool due to several factors, including a five-year qualifying rate for a mortgage that is forecast to reach 5.70 per cent by the fourth quarter of 2019.

Chief economist Cameron Muir predicts higher interest rates, coupled with slower economic growth, will carry the moderating trend in home sales right through next year.

“More stringent mortgage qualifications and rising interest rates will further erode affordability and household purchasing power,” Muir says in a news release.

The association also notes the supply of homes for sale continues at, or near, decade lows in most B.C. regions but it says 60,000 new homes are now under construction, well above the 2008 high of 45,000 units.

“Slowing consumer demand combined with a surge in new home completions over the next several quarters will create more balance in the housing market and produce less upward pressure on home prices,” the association says in its release.

It estimates the average price for a home in B.C. is forecast to increase 6.0 per cent to $752,000 this year, and a further 4.0 per cent to $781,800 in 2019.

Source: The Canadian Press

http://www.timescolonist.com/b-c-home-sales-to-fall-as-interest-rates-rise-but-prices-stay-strong-bcrea-1.23196598

“Big Six” banks have raised mortgage rates as Bank of Canada decision looms tomorrow

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

The “Big Six” Canadian banks have now all hiked mortgage rates ahead of a Bank of Canada policy announcement on Wednesday.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank raised mortgage rates last week, citing “recent activity by competitors” and “Bank of Canada rate changes” as some of the factors that go into an increase.

Bank of Nova Scotia has now hiked as well, increasing its posted five-year fixed-rate mortgage rate to 5.14 per cent from 4.99 per cent. The lender also boosted its one-year, two-year, three-year, four-year, seven-year, and 10-year fixed-rate mortgages by 20 basis points.

“Our number one focus is providing value for our customers — we manage our pricing very actively to do just that,” said Scotiabank spokesman Lukas Gerber on Monday in an email. “We use a variety of market benchmarks to set rates.”

Bank of Montreal has likewise lifted rates, raising its posted five-year, fixed-rate mortgage to 5.14 per cent from 4.99 per cent, as well as hiking its posted four-year fixed-rate 55 basis points  to 4.79 per cent, among other adjustments.

National Bank Financial analyst Gabriel Dechaine said last week in a note on the banks that approximately 80 per cent of outstanding mortgage debt is made up of fixed-rate loans, “of which we believe the majority has five-year terms.”

Montreal-based National Bank of Canada, the sixth-largest bank in the country, has also increased its posted five-year fixed rate mortgage by 15 basis points to 5.14 per cent and bumped its four-year fixed loan to 4.59 per cent from 3.89 per cent.

Laurentian Bank of Canada’s five-year fixed mortgage is also up  15 basis points to 5.14 per cent.

“These changes reflect an increase in the cost of funds and are in line with the rates offered by the market,” said Laurentian spokesperson Benjamin Cerantola in an email.

The Bank of Canada is set to make its next policy announcement on Wednesday, with the potential for an interest rate hike having increased in recent weeks thanks to strong economic data. Another rate hike could provide a boost to bank margins, according to National Bank Financial’s Dechaine.

“2017 provided not only surprise rate increases from the Bank of Canada, but a steady increase in the key five-year benchmark bond yield,” he wrote. “Both trends have contributed to an early turnaround in the trend of shrinking bank margins.”

Source: Geoff Zochodne, Financial Post/Postmedia

http://business.financialpost.com/real-estate/mortgages/big-six-have-now-all-raised-mortgage-rates-as-bank-of-canada-decision-looms

Hoping to buy a home in B.C.? Sorry, it’s not likely to get much cheaper

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

If your New Year’s dreams include buying a home in B.C., don’t expect it to get much easier in 2018, according to one expert.

“The best guess for where prices are going to be a year from now is about where they are today,” said Tom Davidoff, associate professor at the University of B.C.’s Sauder School of Business

Davidoff says there are some changes coming that could slow things down — stricter mortgage regulations that take effect  Jan. 1, for one — but overall he predicts prices will keep climbing.

“Fifty years from now, I would be very surprised if Vancouver is anything other than an extremely, extremely difficult place to buy or to rent,” he said.

“You have to think supply is pretty constrained by geography. We can build more condos, but it’s hard to add land. We’re hemmed in by oceans and mountains and those are beautiful oceans and mountains, and rich people all over the world keep getting richer and a lot of them want to come to Canada.”

In the short run, though, Davidoff says there could be a some relief.

“There’s a lot of construction going on,” he said.

“Some people believe it’s international flippers buying these condos. They may not want to hold them once the building’s complete. If we see the flippers actually flip these new units before they’re completed, as they start to come online, that could create lower prices and lower rents as people move in.”

He argues that communities around the Lower Mainland need to maintain such construction in a variety of neighbourhoods.

“Adding more townhomes and apartments in neighbourhoods where there’s single family homes would really help in coming years,” he said.

He’d also like to see the province make more of an effort on tax reform.

​Although housing affordability was a key election issue, Premier John Horgan has admitted his new government hasn’t made much movement on this — yet.

But Horgan is promising there will be progress with the government’s budget in February.

Davidoff says the way people are taxed in B.C. needs to change if we want to become a more affordable place to live.

Property taxes are going up in Vancouver in 2018, but Davidoff says they’re still much too low.

“Our property tax rate is something like four-tenths, maybe three-tenths of a per cent in the City of Vancouver. It would not be uncommon to see one-and-a-half or even two per cent in other big North American cities,” he said.

Davidoff would like to see that reversed.

“Send the message — we want you to live and work here. So we’re going to have high property taxes, low income and sales taxes. Hopefully the NDP moves in that direction,” he said.

For any younger people considering trying to buy into the Vancouver market, Davidoff warns spending everything you have on a down payment for a highly leveraged asset is risky, but not crazy — especially if you’re very attached to the city.

“In the long run it’ll probably work out, it might even be a great idea in the short run, but there’s certainly a possibility that you’re going to feel very stupid if prices fall 20 per cent right after you’ve bought,” he said.

Still, he says, if you feel like your job prospects or quality of life might be better elsewhere, packing up might be the way to go.

“The option to leave is really an important option.”

Source: Stephanie Mercier, CBC News

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/hoping-to-buy-a-home-in-b-c-sorry-it-s-not-likely-to-get-much-cheaper-1.4457160

Vancouver and Toronto house prices set for rise, says CIBC

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

The housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver could resume their previous upward trajectories amid conditions of tight supply and burgeoning demand, according to a new report from CIBC World Markets.

The Canadian housing market, in general, is in an important transition period — especially Vancouver and Toronto, economist Benjamin Tal said in the report, which was released Tuesday.

He said activity is likely to stabilize and perhaps soften in the coming quarters as markets adjust to recent and upcoming regulatory changes, including tougher rules for getting a mortgage.

“But when the fog clears it will become evident that the long-term trajectory of the market will show even tighter conditions,” Tal said. “The supply issues facing centres such as Toronto and Vancouver will worsen and demand is routinely understated.”

“Short of a significant change in housing policies and preferences, there is nothing in the pipeline to alleviate the pressure,’ he wrote.

As prices shot up dramatically in the Vancouver and Toronto areas, governments took steps to try to cool the markets.

Vancouver real estate

Vancouver saw the August 2016 introduction of a 15 per cent tax on purchases by foreign buyers. Tal pointed that following a period of adjustment, a recovery in the Vancouver market is now underway.

Toronto real estate

In Toronto, the market is already showing a rebound following a slowdown in the wake of the introduction of the Ontario government’s Fair Housing Plan. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, 7,118 homes were sold in the area in October, up 12 per cent from September, but still down down 27 per cent from the same month last year.

In his report, Tal said the recently introduced tighter lending rules will only slow demand by five to seven per cent this year, owing to a combination of the “creative imagination” of borrowers, some exceptions to the rule and increased activity among alternative lenders.

At the same time, Tal said that actual demand in the housing market is stronger than official estimates. He pointed out that Canada’s annual immigration quota is slated to rise from 250,000 to 300,000, and eventually 450,000. That comes amid a current tight land supply based on rules that don’t capture the changes in the market, he said.

Also, official estimates of household formation in the Greater Toronto Area tend be 10,000 below the mark if adjustments are not made for immigrants and non-permanent residents, who Tal said tend to be younger than the general adult population.

“Actual demand is much stronger than official numbers often used to determine the extent to which we overbuild relative to household formation,” Tal said.

Finally, the growing percentage of young adults living at home translates into pent-up demand of roughly 9,000 household, including about 6,500 in the Greater Toronto Area.

“That army of potential buyers can be seen as an insurance against long-lasting significant price decline,” said Tal.

Source: CBC News
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/housing-prices-cibc-tal-1.4401743

Increase in new home prices reaches 7-year high in Metro Vancouver

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Despite efforts by government and regulators to curb Metro Vancouver’s hot housing market, new home prices have continued to climb in the past year.

Recently released data from Statistics Canada shows the overall price of brand new houses and townhomes in the region has soared 6.2 per cent in the 12 months since June 2016.

“Last time [the new house price index] grew larger than 6.2 per cent was in June of 2010,” said analyst Rohit Verma, adding prices rose 6.7 per cent.

The agency has numbers dating back to 1981.

Verma says the information is gathered through a monthly survey of home builders and their contractors, excluding new condominiums.

Across the country in the month of June, Metro Vancouver saw the greatest gain at 1.5 per cent overall. Ottawa-Gatineau, Ont. followed at 0.9 per cent.

Verma says the main reason cited for the increase was “improving market conditions.”

It’s more evidence of the resiliency of the region’s real estate market, despite government efforts at all levels to temper prices.

Last August, the previous Liberal government introduced a 15 per cent tax on foreign home buyers in Metro Vancouver.

Two months later, mortgage rules were tightened across Canada.

Home buyers applying for mortgages with less than a 20 per cent downpayment had to undergo a “stress test” to determine if they could afford to pay back a loan if interest rates rose.

And rates did rise.

Last month, the Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate by 0.25 percentage points — the first time it had increased it since 2010.

All of that hasn’t stopped the market from climbing or put affordable homes within the reach of most people.

Sales in July were 0.7 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month, according to the BC. Real Estate Association.

The Multiple Listing Service Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is $1,019,400 — an 8.7 per cent increase compared to July 2016.

Source: Lien Yeung, CBC News

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/increase-in-new-home-prices-reaches-7-year-high-in-metro-vancouver-1.4244437

Vancouver home prices may have finally shaken off foreign buyers’ tax

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

It’s taken nine months, but the Vancouver housing market may have finally shaken off the foreign buyers tax, data from a home price index suggested on Wednesday.

The Teranet-National Bank of Canada House Price Index showed that Vancouver home prices grew by 8.2 per cent year-over-year in May, and 1.46 per cent month-over-month.

At 252.30, the index reached its highest level since September 2016, which was one month after a 15 per cent property transfer tax on foreign buyers came into effect in Metro Vancouver.

The index has fluctuated since then, hitting as low as 242.64 in December.

Meanwhile, data provided by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) showed the composite home price for Vancouver hitting $941,100 in April, the highest it’s ever been.

The composite had dropped from $933,100 in August 2016, when the tax first came into effect, to $896,000 in January, but now it appears to have recovered.

House prices largely remained unchanged in the eight months following the tax’s introduction, as noted in a chart released by BMO economist Douglas Porter on Tuesday — a marked contrast with growth of 20 per cent in the months before it came into effect.

But the ninth month appears to have bucked the trend.

At 8.2 per cent, Teranet said Vancouver house price growth was strong, but it was still below the national average.

Toronto’s housing market saw the strongest price growth, jumping 3.6 per cent month over month and setting a “record for any month,” Teranet said.

Home prices there jumped by 28.73 per cent year over year, a rate that also topped all other cities.

Toronto’s home price growth is expected to take a breather with the implementation of the Fair Housing Plan, which includes a 15 per cent tax on non-resident speculators in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, which includes Toronto, Niagara and Peterborough.

Like in Vancouver, experts expect the effects of the plan to be short-lived.

Source: Jesse Ferreras, Global News
http://globalnews.ca/news/3529481/vancouver-home-prices-foreign-buyers-tax/

After a lull, Vancouver housing prices are set for a rebound

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Prices of detached homes in Vancouver may have hit bottom in the first quarter of this year, but are poised for a rebound this spring as sales activity surges across the region, according to a Royal LePage survey.

The Royal LePage quarterly house price survey, released Tuesday, shows home prices in the Greater Vancouver region dropped 1.9 per cent in the quarter ended March 31 compared with the last quarter of 2016, driven by a decline in prices of detached homes. Two-storey houses were down 3.1 per cent in the quarter while bungalow prices fell 1 per cent.

The Vancouver market began softening last spring and the market cooled even more after the B.C. government imposed a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers in August. But sales activity has grown so far in each month of 2017, suggesting the market for detached homes in Vancouver could rebound even sooner than people expected, said Royal LePage chief executive officer Phil Soper.

Mr. Soper said the number of units sold in Greater Vancouver climbed more than 48 per cent in March compared with February this year, which is much stronger than seasonal norms. He predicts the slowdown caused by the introduction of the foreign-buyer’s tax could lead to “market whiplash” this summer as pent-up demand is unleashed in coming weeks, sending prices sharply higher again.

“Frankly, I thought the correction would be deeper and longer, but that unit-sales number says to me that there’s still a lot of demand in the region and people may not sit on the sidelines for as long as we thought they would,” he said in an interview.

On a national basis, home prices are a tale of two cities, with Vancouver slumping while the Toronto region sees soaring prices, marking the first period in years in which Vancouver and Toronto’s housing markets have headed in opposite directions.

The combination has driven the average price of a home in Canada up 12.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same time last year. The average home sold for $574,575, according to sales data from 53 of Canada’s largest real estate markets.

Removing the hot Ontario market from the calculation shows a more modest national price increase of just 6.4 per cent in the first quarter this year.

Mr. Soper said growth in the rest of Canada outside of Vancouver and Southern Ontario is strong but sustainable, and higher prices in cities in Alberta and Quebec are particularly welcome news.

“Generally it is shaping up to be the best and healthiest year we’ve seen in Canadian real estate probably since before the global financial crisis,” he said.

Prices soared not only in the Greater Toronto Area, but also in other cities across Southern Ontario. Prices climbed 12.4 per cent in London, 9.9 per cent in Kingston and 8.5 per cent Windsor, all of which are two hours or farther from Toronto.

Mr. Soper said the growth well beyond the Toronto region is being fuelled by Ontario’s strong economic performance, with the province now leading Canada in economic growth.

Closer to Toronto, the city with the greatest year-over-year price gain was Richmond Hill, north of Toronto, where prices climbed by 31.5 per cent in the first quarter this year compared with the first quarter of 2016. Oshawa, which is east of Toronto, saw prices rise 28.2 per cent in the first quarter compared with the same period last year.

The price growth in suburban cities is being fuelled by single-family home buyers, who have concluded they can get more “bang for your buck” outside of central Toronto, Mr. Soper said.

He added he sees no sign that Toronto’s market is cooling yet, but believes a slowdown is coming soon as prices move too far out of balance.

“There is so much momentum in the market that it will carry through the spring market at full steam,” he said. “The earliest I believe we’ll see a slowdown in the GTA market will be this summer or fall. Save a really heavy-handed move by regulators, I don’t see anything slowing this market this spring.”

Source: Janet McFarland, The Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/the-market/vancouver-housing-market-poised-for-spring-rebound-royal-lepage/article34726396/


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