In condo market, 'bubble chatter' heats up

New numbers last week on Canada’s condo-juiced housing market are fanning fresh worries about a bubble in Canadian real estate.

This week brings another temperature reading on the housing market – sales of existing homes for April.

And Bank of Montreal deputy chief economist Doug Porter is forecasting a healthy 10 per cent year-over-year gain. He also expects prices to rise, paced by Toronto’s hot housing market.




“Look for another round of bubble chatter,” he warned.


“Early indications are that activity revved up again last month.”


There’s clearly a lot of demand for new housing.


A surge in condominium construction helped drive overall housing starts up 14 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 244,900, the highest since September, 2007, and an increase from the March pace of 214,800, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing statistics released last week.


Almost all the activity was in multi-family or condo starts.


The key now is to see if sales and prices are staying hot in the resale market.


The crucial markets to watch are Toronto and Vancouver; the latter boasts one of the priciest housing markets in the world (average price: $761,000).


In Vancouver, it looks like the peak is past. Prices have stabilized and there’s some evidence of over-building.


“Vancouver could be a canary that flags trouble in another large city, Toronto, where valuations and condo construction are also becoming elevated,” BMO said in a research note.


OTTAWA— From Monday's Globe and Mail


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