Average Canadian house price up 3% in past 12 months, CREA says

The average price of a Canadian home rose by three per cent in the year up to September, even as sales during the month came in 11 per cent lower than they were a year ago.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said Friday that the deceleration in price gains largely reflects softening price trends in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe area, which stretches around the southwestern corner of Lake Ontario.

“National sales appear to be stabilizing,” CREA president Andrew Peck said in a statement. “While encouraging, it’s too early to tell if this is the beginning of a longer-term trend.”

While down 11 per cent from last year’s level, 2016 marked was the busiest September for home sales on record.

When discussing Canada’s real estate picture, the two markets of Toronto and Vancouver get a lot of attention both because they are very large but also because they have had such outsized gains, which skewed the national numbers higher, the realtor group has long warned. “The national result continues to be influenced heavily by trends in Toronto and Vancouver but housing market conditions vary widely across Canada,” Peck said Friday.

Vancouver took steps in 2016 to cool its market via a foreign buyers tax, and Toronto did the same in early 2017. Both appear to have had a cooling effect on their respective markets, although they are both at different stages in the cycles.

After an initial slowdown in the summer of 2016 after the new rules came in, Vancouver prices are bouncing back sharply, with the average selling price in the city up more than 17 per cent to $1,046,982.

Average prices in the Greater Toronto area, meanwhile, are still digesting April’s rules changes, as the average selling price in the city has risen by just over four per cent to $785,099.

Nationally, the average price of a Canadian home sold last month was $487,000. If Toronto and Vancouver are stripped out, however, that figure drops to just above $374,500.

“Further tightening of federal regulations aimed at cooling housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver risks creating collateral damage in markets elsewhere in Canada,” CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump said.

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