Canada Home Sales Approach 4-Year High Led by Vancouver

Canadian existing home sales rose last month, approaching the highest level in four years, amid gains in Vancouver and Toronto.

Sales rose by 0.7 percent to 41,949 units in October, including a 1.3 percent gain in Vancouver and a 0.5 percent increase in the nearby Fraser Valley district, the Canadian Real Estate Association said today from Ottawa. Toronto and Calgary recoded sales gains of 0.9 percent and 2.5 percent, the CREA data showed.

The pace of home buying in Canada’s hottest markets isn’t slowing down, even as policy makers renew warnings that inflated prices pose a risk. The real estate association said today that while the housing market’s strength isn’t evenly distributed, it does extend beyond a few large centers.

“Sales in a number of British Columbia markets have started to recover from weaker demand over the past couple of years,” Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist, said in today’s report, adding Alberta is also seeing an improvement.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said this month his concern about indebted consumers and a possible slide in home prices, while among the biggest risks to the domestic financial system, is limited to Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Evan Siddall, head of the nation’s housing agency, said last month some local markets are “definitely” overvalued.

Low Rates

The average home price rose 7.1 percent to C$419,699 ($370,000) in October from a year earlier. The average price in Toronto rose 9.0 percent to C$587,505 and in Vancouver there was a gain of 5.6 percent to C$819,336.

Sales dropped 2.2 percent in Montreal, 24 percent in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and 1.4 percent in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

National sales increased 7 percent in October from the same month a year earlier, the association said.

The Bank of Canada 5-Year conventional mortgage rate held at 4.79 percent last week, matching the lowest since at least 1975, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Low interest rates continued to support sales in some of Canada’s more active and expensive urban housing markets and factored into the monthly increase for national sales,” CREA President Beth Crosbie said in today’s report.

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