Home price surge continues in Toronto and Vancouver

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 4:58am

Home sales in Canada's two largest real estate markets continued their surge last month from a year earlier.

Sales in Toronto, the largest market, rose 21 per cent from August last year to 7,569 units, the Toronto Real Estate Board said, with average prices gaining 5.4 per cent.

Vancouver existing-home sales rose 52 per cent, that city's real estate board said.

Housing market figures are showing few signs of a hard landing after warnings from economists and policymakers that a bubble may have been forming.

Buyers appear to have adjusted to tighter mortgage rules imposed last year, said Diane Usher, president of the Toronto realtor group.

"Many households have accounted for the added costs brought on by stricter mortgage lending guidelines and have reactivated their search for a home," Usher said.

Other regions and cities recording double-digit sales gains last month include Victoria and the Fraser Valley areas of British Columbia and Calgary.

The average price of a home sold in Toronto was C$503,094 (HK$3.7 million) last month, the Toronto realtors group said.

But there are signs the country's housing market may be losing some steam.

Existing-home sales recorded their smallest monthly gain in five months in July, the Canadian real estate association said.

Banks including Royal Bank and Toronto-Dominion, the two largest lenders, have also raised mortgage rates in recent weeks to reflect higher yields in the bond market.

The Canadian Real Estate Association publishes aggregated national data around the middle of each month.