“Major Canadian real estate markets continued to show exceptional resiliency throughout the first quarter of the year, with strong demand and diminished supply setting the stage for a heated spring 2012,” according to the Re/Max report.
The tight conditions have recently sparked bidding wars, said Re/Max, noting such trends in Winnipeg, Toronto, Saskatoon, Regina, London-St. Thomas, Hamilton-Burlington, Ottawa, St. John’s, and Halifax-Dartmouth.
In Halifax-Dartmouth, sales activity has been up 35% since the same time last year, bolstered by the announcement of a $25 billion shipbuilding contract late last year.
Sales activity was also up 21% in Saskatoon and 20% in Saint John. Sales were down 16% in Vancouver, however, which has an average price of $786,695 – well more than $300,000 higher than any other Canadian major city.
Victoria was the only one of the 15 markets to see a price decline in the first two months of this year compared to the same time in 2011, down 1% to reach $469,399. St. John’s, the Greater Toronto Area and Winnipeg all saw 10% average price increases over last year. Kitchener-Waterloo wasn’t far behind at 9%.
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The report found 12 of 15 of Canada’s major metropolitan centres reported year-over-year increases in sales activity in the first two months of 2012, and more than half had double-digit increases. Low interest rates and consumer confidence, along with the recent mild weather, will push an early start to an expected strong spring market, said RE/Max. Average price climbed in 14 of the 15 markets.