Canadian housing market called 'bright spot' in economic news

Prices for existing homes continued to moderate in September, with year-overyear gains the smallest since January, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

The average price of a home sold across the country was $352,581, a 6.5-per-cent jump from a year earlier.

Sales activity rose 2.7 per cent in September from August, and 11 per cent from a year earlier but the Ottawabased group, which represents about 100 boards across the country, continued to describe the market as balanced.

"The national housing market tightened in September from the month before, but re

mains firmly entrenched in balanced territory," the group said in a release.

Sales for the first nine months of the year are now 1.2 per cent ahead of last year's pace.

Toronto led a number of other major markets boosting September sales. It was the highest level for national sales since the government tightened mortgage rules again earlier this year.

"The Canadian housing market remains a bright spot against a backdrop of mixed headline news about the global economy," said CREA president Gary Morse. "Low mortgage rates continue to draw buyers to the housing market, while recently tightened mortgage regulations are working as intended."

CREA said new listings nationally have changed very little over the past two months, but that the figure was affected by an averaging out of markets.

New listings rose in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Oakville and Vancouver, but were offset by fewer new listings in markets like Edmonton and the Fraser Valley.

Nationally, the sales-to-new listings ratio was 52.8 per cent in September, up from 51.6 per cent in August, and still considered a balanced market. CREA says almost two-thirds of Canadian markets have a sales-to-new listings ratio of 40 per cent to 60 per cent, which is considered balanced.

The number of months of inventory, which is based on how long it would take to sell current listings based on the current sales pace, was 6.1 months in September. It was 6.2 months in August.

Gregory Klump, chief economist for CREA, noted housing has remained stable in face of market volatility, which has contributed to Canadian confidence.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette




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