OTTAWA – June 2, 2010 – The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has lowered its forecast for home sales via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations. The revision reflects a weaker than expected start to the year in British Columbia, and recent developments that pulled forward the timing as to when sales are expected to ease in other provinces.
CREA’s previous national forecast was heavily influenced by British Columbia and Ontario forecast trends, and this remains the case in the revised forecast. While sales activity is unfolding as expected in Ontario, the decline in affordability in British Columbia impacted sales in the province during the first quarter.
Additionally, changes to mortgage regulations announced in February are expected to marginally impact activity. The changes prompted some homebuyers to finance their home purchase before the new regulations took effect in April, which pulled forward a number of sales that would have otherwise taken place at a later date.
April also saw the Bank of Canada drop its conditional commitment to keep interest rates on hold until at least July, opening the door to an interest rate hike before then. Indeed, on June 1st, the Bank announced its decision to raise its trendsetting overnight lending rate by 25 basis points to a ½ a per cent, and indicated it expects the rate of growth to slow for consumer spending.