Toronto, Vancouver lead national housing sales and price gains

Vancouver and Toronto continued to lead gains in Canadian housing markets in November, with average prices in Vancouver edging close to $1 million for the first time.

Existing home sales gained 1.8 percent in November from the previous month, rising for a second straight period, the Canadian Real Estate Association said in a statement Tuesday. The average sales price was up 1.4 percent from October and 10 percent from a year ago, to $456,186.

The gains were led by the country’s two most expensive housing markets. Sales in Vancouver were up 7.1 percent, with average prices gaining 1.7 percent on the month and 16 percent from a year earlier. In Toronto, sales were up 3.4 percent as prices rose 1.2 percent from October and 10 percent from a year ago.

With the gains, the average home price in Vancouver was $930,652 last month; in Toronto it was $632,685.

Regulators last week announced steps to clamp down on runaway prices in those two markets, a move that may actually accelerate gains over the next few months before the measures are implemented in February.

“Recently announced changes to mortgage regulations will likely boost sales activity in the short term, as buyers jump off the fence to beat the changes before they take effect,” CREA President Pauline Aunger said in the statement.

Canadian authorities Friday said they would raise down payment requirements on insured mortgages to 10 percent from 5 percent for homes above $500,000 starting Feb. 15.

The Ottawa-based real estate association updated its forecasts for next year, predicting a 1.1 percent decline in sales and a 1.4 percent gain in average sale price.

©2015 Bloomberg News

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