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Tag Archives: home price index

Canada housing market has calmed: finance minister

Louise Egan – Reuters

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Tuesday he is less worried about overheating in the housing and condominium markets, despite a mid-year bounce in sales, but he stands ready to intervene if there are signs of an emerging housing bubble.

Comment: We we are all forgetting is that the numbers look extra high because we are comparing them to a year that was extra low. Just as July 2012 to June 2013 looked extra low as they were compared to years with different mortgage rules. Let’s go back to 2011 and compare. In mid-September 2011 there were 3,149 sales in the GTA, compared to 3,158 in 2013. Almost exactly the same. Let’s look back at August – 7,542 sales in 2011 and 7,569 in 2013. A difference of 0.3% in September and 0.4% in August. Quite a bit different than the 21% and 29% rises we see compared to 2012. Or the -12.5% and -15% drops we saw in 2012 over 2011. Remove the anomalous year and the data smooths right out.

In an interview with BNN television, Flaherty said he meets builders and bankers to discuss the real estate market, meeting the latter this week in Toronto.

“It’s calming, which is good, especially the condo market which was quite worrisome in Vancouver and Toronto, and a little bit in Montreal also,” he said.

“I’m comfortable with where we are, but we have to watch and, if we see anything moving toward a bubble, we can intervene.”

Comment: And what is he going to do now? There isn’t much left in the toolbox…

Flaherty has already stepped in four times since 2008 to tighten mortgage lending rules to slow the real estate market and excessive consumer debt. The market slowed considerably after his latest measures in mid-2012, but regained momentum in the busy spring season of 2013.

Existing home sales rose in August from July and were much higher than a year earlier, the Canadian Real Estate Association said on Monday. The organization’s home price index rose 2.9% in August from a year earlier.

Canada reported unexpectedly strong factory sales for July on Tuesday, but when asked about this sign of strength, Flaherty said the domestic economy was “still fragile.”

Comment: Remember, it is not so much crazy strength in the real estate market as a return to more normal patterns we saw 2 years ago. Any time there is a major change, it shakes things up, it takes a while to calm down.

He said the recovery in Europe was “tenuous,” but the U.S. recovery looked “credible.”

“That’s very encouraging for Canada,” he added.

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Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto Realtor with Century 21 Regal Realty. He did not
write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who are
interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

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