The latest numbers on Canada’s housing market caused a bit of a stir when they came out last week.
“Has the Canadian real estate market adjusted to the higher cost of borrowing?” asked a headline from online realtor Zoocasa.
Home sales rose 1.3 per cent in October from the month before, the first monthly gain since February. About 60 per cent of Canadian housing markets saw an increase, and new listings rose for the first time in four months, a possible sign, says Zoocasa, that buyers and sellers are sick of sitting on the sidelines and ready to get back in the market.
“In October, sales across the country increased for the first time since before interest rates started to rise last winter,” said Jill Oudil, chair of the Canadian Real Estate Association when the numbers were released. “Of course, we’ve known the demand was there, so it’s just been a matter of some playing the waiting game as borrowing costs and prices have adjusted.”
While one month does not make a trend, economists also saw green shoots in the data.
October’s monthly home sales gain potentially signals that the market is nearing a bottom after falling 36 per cent over the past seven months, wrote RBC economist Robert Hogue in a note.
“Canada’s housing market may be entering the latter stages of its cyclical downturn.”
Leading the way in gains for the country was Victoria, where sales rose almost 20 per cent from the month before in October. Sales in Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Saint John and Halifax also rose by single-digit percentages. Toronto and Calgary were pretty much flat, while sales fell in Ottawa by 2.9 per cent, Montreal, by 2.4 per cent and Quebec City, 1.6 per cent.
In almost every market, sales remained below year-ago levels.
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