Toronto, Vancouver Housing Markets Showing Some Signs of Spring

By David George-Cosh

Reuters

Home sales in two of Canada’s biggest cities show the country’s cooling housing market may still have some spring in its step.

Vancouver home sales last month fell about 6% from the same time last year, but were up almost 12% on a monthly basis, according to the latest stats from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Home sales in Toronto fell 2% in April compared to the year-earlier period, but were up a whopping 24% from March, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

“Despite the headwinds we have experienced in the housing market this year, April sales came in quite strong in comparison to last year,” said Ann Hannah, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. “As we move through the spring and into the second half of 2013, the demand for home ownership should continue to firm up relative to last year.”

It’s now been nearly a full year since the federal government enacted stricter mortgage lending guidelines that cooled what was then a hot housing market in Canada, and Ms. Hannah says it’s “realistic to surmise” that some households may be on the hunt again to buy a new home.

Those potential buyers may welcome this nugget of good news: the pace of home-price growth continues to fall, at least in Toronto.

The price of an average home in Toronto rose 2% in April to 526,335 Canadian dollars ($521,898), the real estate board said, and while higher, it’s the fourth-straight month the pace of price increases has slowed. In March, Toronto prices climbed 3.8% from the previous month.

Prices in Vancouver fell 3.9% to C$597,300 month-over-month in April, the same rate of decline recorded in March.

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