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Two still-hot housing markets: Toronto and Vancouver

 

The overall average house price grew 3.1 per cent in the year to January, to $401,143. That’s the smallest increase since April, 2013, but it’s largely a story of two still-hot housing markets: Toronto and Vancouver.

Toronto and Vancouver are still hot markets, For example a recent study has shown that detached homes in Toronto have averaged out to hit the one million dollar mark. Condo developments are sweeping throughout the city and yet the demand has remained high.  

Strip out those two cities and average house prices are down 0.3 per cent over the past year.

Home sales, meanwhile, are 2 per cent lower than they were a year ago, CREA numbers showed.

Major energy industry centers like Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina saw some of the sharpest declines in housing demand while Toronto and Vancouver has increased dramatically, TD economist Diana Petramala noted.

There is “a widening regional wedge” in Canada’s housing markets, Petramala wrote in a client note, as oil-importing cities’ housing markets benefit from lower oil prices while producer cities struggle.

 

Petramala sees a 10-per-cent decline in house prices from peak to trough in energy cities.

“Elsewhere, the economic backdrop is expected to remain favourable to housing, bolstered by a strong U.S. economy, a weak Canadian dollar and a surprise interest rate cut [last month] by the Bank of Canada,” Petramala wrote.

But BMO economist Doug Porter notes that falling house prices and home sales aren’t limited to energy-rich areas, with prices falling in some cities in all regions of the country.

“There’s little doubt that the swift chill in the prior market-leading cities has cooled the broader national trends,” Porter wrote.

 

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