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Canadian home sales rise for ninth consecutive month

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The number of homes sold nationally rose 11.3 percent in November compared with a year ago, but the picture varies significantly by region, the Canadian Real Estate Association said.

A major rebound in sales in the Greater Vancouver Area and continued growth in the Greater Toronto and Montreal regions propped up sales, while the Prairie cities of Calgary, Edmonton and Regina saw declines.

Overall, there were 37,213 homes sold through CREA’s MLS system, up from 33,437 in November 2018.

The increase in sales came as the national average price for a home sold in November was about $529,000, up 8.4 percent compared with a year ago. Excluding Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver, the average price was about $404,000, up 6.9 percent compared with last year. The MLS home price index rose 2.6 percent year over year to $638,300.

Price gains also saw regional variances, with the Greater Vancouver benchmark price down 4.59 percent from a year ago and Prairie home prices also down, while Greater Toronto saw gains of 6.52 percent, Greater Montreal had gains of 8.72 percent and Ottawa registered gains of 11.45 percent.

“Sales continue to improve in some regions and not so much in others,” Jason Stephen, president of CREA, said in the release.

In its updated outlook, the association says it expects home sales this year to total 486,800, while it says the national average price is on track to rise 2.3 percent.

That compared with an earlier forecast for 482,000 home sales for 2019 and a 0.5-per-cent increase in the national average price.

Prices rose as the number of newly listed homes slid 2.7 percent, driven primarily by fewer new listings in the GTA.

Nationally there is 4.2 months of inventory, the lowest recorded since the summer of 2007. The inventory, which represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, is well below the long-term average of 5.3 months.

For 2020, CREA says it expects home sales to rise 8.9 percent next year to 530,000. The national average price is forecast to rise 6.2 percent to $531,000.

TD economist Rishi Sondhi said he also expects rising sales in 2020 from job growth, population gains and a mild boost from government programs for first-time homebuyers, although he says there is some room for caution.

“This view rests on financial conditions remaining accommodative. The backup in bond yields since September, if sustained, could offer some downside risk to our forecast.”

He said the recovery in home sales, especially helped by the Greater Vancouver Area’s 55.9-per-cent jump, would yet again support fourth-quarter economic growth.

(This article is been published in The Globe and Mail)

Michael GoodmanCanadian home sales rise for ninth consecutive month

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