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Today, in our ongoing series about local real estate markets, we’ll take a look at home sales and trends in Canada.
In Calgary, Aoberta, low inventory in March pushed a rise in home values, Beacon News reports:
The inventory of homes for sale in Calgary hit its lowest March level in five years last month, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB). The low listings are hampering sales growth, says the board. If the trend continues, house prices could increase, according to the CREB.
CTV News reports that Vancouver home sales are also down in March, with prices down slightly as well:
Home sales in Vancouver fell sharply in March compared to a year ago, but the city’s real estate board says supply and demand are holding steady. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported that 2,347 properties were sold last month on the MLS system, an 18.3 per cent drop compared to the 2,847 sales in the same time period in 2012. The March sales were the second lowest in Greater Vancouver since 2001 – and a whopping 30 per cent lower than the 10-year sales average for the month…. with house prices falling 3.9 per cent. The benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver is now $593,100. That number jumps to $906,900 when looking at detached properties.
The same article notes a rosier picture in Toronto in March:
Sales in Toronto also fell sharply, down 17 per cent. But the sales drop in Toronto didn’t make a dent in prices. The average home price rose in March 3.8 per cent, to $519,879.
Similar story in Winnipeg, as the Winnipeg Free Press reports:
House prices continue to climb at a healthy pace in Winnipeg, a new survey shows, even though unit sales are flagging. The latest quarterly house-prices survey by Royal LePage shows average selling prices for the three most common types of resale homes — bungalows, two-storeys and condominiums — rose between 3.3 per cent and 6.9 per cent from the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year. That was nearly triple the national average increase of between 1.2 per cent to 2.4 per cent. And the price hikes came at a time when unit sales had begun to falter. Sales were down 11 per cent from a year earlier in February, and the Winnipeg Realtors Association’s next monthly sales report, due out today or Monday, will show another significant year-over-year decline in March.
In Nova Scotia, sales were way down by the first two months of the year, the Chronicle Herald reports:
Home sales dropped dramatically across the province in the first two months of this year, with the biggest declines occurring in the Halifax region and on the South Shore. According to numbers provided by the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors’ multiple listings service, sales across the province dropped 19.7 per cent through the three-month period ending Feb. 28 compared to the previous year. However, association president Wayne MacIntosh said the numbers — so far — amount to an adjustment from the hot start experienced in 2012 and not a cause for concern.
And for the country as a whole, things have slowed noticeably, raising questions about government efforts to slow down the market. The Globe & Mail reports:
Low interest rates have failed to jump-start the housing market, as sales in major Canadian cities in March fell sharply below where they were last spring. Despite a series of mortgage-rate promotions offering five-year loans at less than 3 per cent, sales of existing homes in the Toronto area slumped 17 per cent in March from a year earlier, while Vancouver sales sank 18 per cent. Calgary, which is expected to show a rise in sales this year, has also posted a small decline during the month. The numbers are likely to add new fuel to the debate over Ottawa’s moves to cool down the housing market and prevent Canadians from taking on too much mortgage debt. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty took the extraordinary step last month of scolding banks for advertising lower rates, causing one lender, Manulife Bank, to withdraw a special offer of five-year mortgages at 2.89 per cent. That followed a number of formal measures the government has taken to slow the acceleration in home prices.
Did they go too far?