Canada’s housing sector continued to show signs of stabilization in April, with realtors in most markets recording increases in both transactions and prices.
The number of homes sold rose 3.6 per cent compared with March, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Wednesday in a statement. From a year ago, sales are up 4.2 per cent. Benchmark prices for homes increased 0.7 per cent in April, adding to a 0.8 per cent gain in March. That’s the strongest back-to-back increase in prices in a year.
The report is in line with other recent data that suggests housing has begun to recover from a recent slump, easing concerns that some of the country’s more expensive markets like Toronto were poised for a major correction.
“Sales activity is stabilizing among Canada’s five most active urban housing markets,” Gregory Klump, the realtor group’s chief economist, said in the statement.
The rebound is most evident in Toronto, where transactions climbed 11 per cent and prices gained 1.3 per cent. Of 19 major markets tracked by the Ottawa-based real estate association, 16 recorded price gains last month.
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One exception is Vancouver, which continues to soften. Benchmark home prices in that city were down 0.3 per cent in April and have fallen 8.5 per cent over the past 12 months. Even with the widespread rebound, national home sales are still below historical averages.
Housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver had cooled considerably last year as officials tightened mortgage regulations, imposed taxes on foreign buyers and took other measures designed to curb runaway prices — raising worries the steps had gone too far.
Yet economic fundamentals — from strong employment gains to a sharp increase in immigration — remain supportive. So has a dovish tilt globally from central banks that have helped bring down borrowing costs in recent months.