Vancouver and Toronto markets continue to defy expectations

In its updated outlook for the housing industry this year, the Canadian Real Estate Association noted that Vancouver and Toronto continued to defy expectations despite predictions of possible slowdown in 2016.
Previously, the CREA projected that price growth in Ontario and British Columbia would cool down a bit this year. The revised forecast now anticipates sales growth of 1 per cent, with the two provinces to stimulate an increase of 8 per cent in national average prices, up to $478,100.
“Price gains in these regions are expected to continue to stand in sharp contrast to moderate price declines among housing markets whose prospects are closely tied to oil and other natural resource prices,” the outlook stated, as quoted by The Globe and Mail.
The number of homes available through listings also spiked upwards by 0.5 per cent in February compared to the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, the sales-to-new-listing ratio nationwide sat at 59.5 per cent last month, breaking the record set in November 2009.
“Canadian resale housing market trends this year are expected to resemble those apparent in 2015, with very tight supply leading to strong price gains in British Columbia and Ontario – particularly in the Lower Mainland and in and around the Greater Toronto Area,” the report added.
CREA said that this performance level has kept national sales numbers afloat, despite weakness in other markets like Edmonton, Montreal, and Greater Moncton.
However, BMO chief economist Doug Porter warned that these numbers might paint a misleading picture of a strong overall national market, when in fact it’s basically just two heavyweights propping up Canadian real estate.
“The Canadian housing market remains a tale of three solitudes – the uber-strength in Vancouver and Toronto (and surrounding cities in both regions), ice-cold conditions in markets exposed to oil prices and the just-right middle markets in almost every other region,” Porter said.

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