Lower interest rates and a few high-profile sales have combined to bring a little bit of fresh vitality to the Toronto market. Still, lots of properties are changing hands without frenzied bidding wars and agents say new listings are trickling out slowly. The Toronto Real Estate Board reported this week that sales jumped nearly 15 per cent in the first two weeks of February in the Greater Toronto Area compared with the same period in 2014. The average price climbed 10.3 per cent but new listings edged up only 3.5 per cent in the first half of the month compared with the same period last year. Bidding contests such as the one for the semi-detached bungalow at 21 Berkshire Ave. have contributed to the price gains. Listed with an asking price of $499,000, it sold one week later on the night set for reviewing offers, for $595,000, after about 75 showings. “I think the interest rate announcement put a little bit of spark back in people.”
Vancouver begins the year on a high
Some experts are predicting that the slowdown in Alberta could give an extra boost to the property market in British Columbia and so far this year BC is booming. The Greater Vancouver home price index for January was 8.4 per cent higher than a year earlier, reaching a record high of $1,010,000. Removing the top-end properties the benchmark HPI was up 5.5 per cent in a year to $641,600. The Real Estate Board of Vancouver’s data shows that sales were up 8.7 per cent from January 2014 with 1,913 properties sold. That figure is 14.9 per cent higher than the 10 year average for the month. Read the full story.
GTA sales strong so far
The year has got off to strong start in the Greater Toronto Area according to data from GTA Realtors. It reports that there were 4,355 home sales through the MLS system in January, a 6.1 per cent increase year-over-year. New listings over the year have increased by 9.5 per cent and the average selling price was up by 4.9 per cent to $552,575. The Toronto Real Estate Board predicts that prices will continue to rise this year but will be mitigated by lower borrowing costs. Director of Analysis Jason Mercer says: The strongest rates of price growth will be experienced for low-rise home types, including singles, semis and town houses. However, robust end-user demand for condo apartments will result in above-inflation price growth in the high-rise segment as well.”
Edmonton sales slump in January
The Realtors Association of Edmonton says that sales were down by 26 per cent last month compared to a year earlier and marking a 5-year low. There were 666 properties sold and although prices have held up so far it is a buyers’ market with new listings surging by 29.5 per cent to 2,316. The association’s president Geneva Tetreault from Century 21 Vantage Realty told the Edmonton Journal that she hasn’t noticed anyone panic-selling because of the slowdown in the oil industry and says that many clients were planning to sell anyway. Read the full story.
Western provinces have highest average mortgage debt
Homeowners in BC and Alberta have the highest average mortgage debt according to StatsCan data. The most recently available figures, from 2012, show that BC households had an average of $241,800 in mortgage debt while Albertans are second on $205,200. Ontario’s figure was $173,000 while the lowest was New Brunswick at $83,000. Read the full story.
Consumer confidence continues to fall despite lower interest rates
The lower interest rates haven’t done anything to curb fears over the economy; in fact they may have made things worse. The newly-release Canadian Confidence Index from Nanos Research shows that the percentage of respondents who expect the economy to weaken over the next six months has hit its highest rate since 2009 at 41.9 per cent. That figure for last week is up more than 5 per cent from the week earlier. For house prices the index reveals that the gap between those expecting higher prices in six months (down to 31.2 per cent) and those expecting them to be lower (up to 17.2 per cent) has narrowed. Read the full story.