Immigration and Employment to hold housing steady

Overall Market

  • In a report released this month, the federal agency said 62 per cent of households owned a home in 1981 and by 2006 this proportion had risen to 69 per cent.
  • Over the past few months most markets have started to cool with sales down 17% nationally, following moves by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the banking regulator to tighten mortgage lending rules.
  • One of the world’s leading debt rating agencies, Moody, downgraded five of Canada’s big banks due to exposure to over-leveraged consumers. Stock markets were not affected with shares continued on a winning streak that’s been going on more than six months.
  • According to Boston Consulting, in China, the number of millionaires hit 1.4-million in 2011 from 1.2-million the year before. That number is expected to keep growing “strongly” in the coming years. Investors from mainland China tend to see Canada as one of the top destinations for real-estate investment, according to real estate services provider Colliers International.
  • Canadian building permits fell 11.2% in December after a 14.5% decline in November. The biggest two-month drop fall since the data series started in 1989, and left the value of building permits 16.2% lower than a year earlier.
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp showed the housing market was even weaker than expected, there were 9,904 actual starts last month, compared with 13,038 in January 2012.
  • Sales were up 1.3% in January from December, the Canadian Real Estate Association. The trade group for the country’s real estate agents said that compared with a year earlier actual sales for January, not seasonally adjusted, were down 5.2%.
  • The number of newly listed homes rose 1.6% month over month in January, the first monthly increase since last September
  • The International Monetary Fund, in its annual report on Canada, also said the country’s currency was between 5 and 15% higher than warranted by long-term economic fundamentals and estimated that Canadian home prices are overvalued by an average of 10 per cent and predicted an “adjustment” over the next five years
  • CMHC forecasts the number of housing starts to range between 178,600 and 202,000 units in 2013, with a point forecast of 190,300 units. In 2014, there will between 171,200 and 217,000 units of housing started, with a point forecast of 194,100 units. The average MLS price is forecast to be between $356,500 and $378,500 in 2013 and between $363,800 and $390,800 in 2014. Housing construction activity will trend lower in the first half of 2013, before gaining more momentum by the end of the year as economic and employment growth remain supportive of the Canadian housing market.

Vancouver

  • Home sales are forecast to increase this year and next, with average prices dropping slightly in 2013 and crawling higher in 2014: the British Columbia Real Estate Association. This latest forecast calls for a 5.6-per-cent increase in the number of sales in 2013 and a further 6.1-per-cent increase in 2014, after the number of sales fell 11.8 per cent in 2012.
  • In Metro Vancouver, the number of sales in Vancouver fell nearly 23 per cent in 2012, but the BCREA expects they will pick up over the next two years with growth in both employment and immigration and a hold on low interest rates. The forecast calls for 75,830 units to be sold in 2014 in B.C., while the five-year average is 74,600 and the 10-year average is 86,800 units, BCREA said. The average residential price is expected to drop one per cent in the province to $510,000 in 2013, and edge up 0.6 per cent in 2014 to $513,500. Housing starts in the province will fall 3.5 per cent to 26,500 units in 2013, and go up 1.5 per cent to 26,900 units in 2014, the forecast said. The transition from the harmonized sales tax to the provincial sales tax may add a short-term boost to new homes sales this spring, the forecast said.

Calgary

  • Calgary’s resale housing market had its best January for sales since 2008 as average prices also climbed to their highest level ever for the month.
  • According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, total MLS sales in the city in January were 1,230, up 15.17 per cent from a year ago while the average sale price rose by 12.34 per cent cent to $439,671. The previous record high for the average sale price in any January was in 2008 at $413,271.
  • Factors that influence the Calgary housing sector include: The growth within the energy sector is significant along with consumer confidence in the marketplace as well as steady economic performance.
  • CREB noted the single-family home benchmark price jumped by 9.01 per cent to $436,900. It rose by 7.49 per cent in the condo apartment category to $251,300 and it was up by 4.85 per cent in the condo townhouse category to $283,400.
  • There were 34 MLS sales in Calgary of properties over $1 million in January — just shy of the January record of 36 luxury sales in 2007. Calgary finished 2012 with an all-time record of 544 luxury home sales, eclipsing the previous mark of 458 in 2007.
  • Calgary census metropolitan area will grow by 1.37 per cent this year to 27,000 units followed by another 2.59 per cent growth in 2014 to 27,700 transactions.
  • The average sale price is expected to rise by 2.59 per cent this year to $423,000 and by another 2.6 per cent in 2014 to $434,000.
  • According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, year-to-date until February 21, total MLS sales in the city of 2,498 are up 11.57 per cent compared with the same period last year and the average sale price has risen by 10.63 per cent to $448,635.

Toronto

  • Urbanation Inc., one of the leading research companies in the condo industry, said overall the Toronto census metropolitan area was 79% sold in the fourth quarter of 2012, down from 80% a quarter earlier and 82% a year earlier. It is above the 10-year average of 78%. Resale activity in the condo market was down 14% in the fourth quarter for the lowest quarterly level in a decade but Urbanation said it was due to a lack of listing.
  • As of last September, net migration in Ontario had fallen by 20 per cent year-over-year to below 60,000 new residents, says a CMHC. That’s the lowest levels of net migration since the late 1990s and about 40 per cent less than the 110,000 or so people who migrated to the province annually.
  • New condo sales in Toronto fell 47 per cent in the last quarter of 2012, even as the number of units under construction hit an all-time high, according to data from market research firm Urbanation.
  • There were 3,841 new condos sold in Toronto in the last three months of 2012, compared with 7,226 sales in the same period a year earlier.
  • At the same time, the number of total condo units under construction in Toronto hit a record high of 56,866 in 2012. The number of construction starts also hit an all-time high, at 24,388.
  • Urbanation reports the average selling price in Toronto in 2013 was $536, up 5.2 per cent from the year before. That would suggest condo prices may be falling because developers are building smaller units.
  • The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is reporting a strong start to 2013. Home sales were down just 1.3 per cent in January over a year earlier, welcome news after six months of largely double-digit decreases.

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