Vancouver home sales down in April while rest of Canada soars

Average selling price in Vancouver down 9.8 per cent compared with a year ago at $735,315

TORONTO — Home sales in April gained 0.8 per cent compared with March, boosted by strength in Toronto and Calgary, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Tuesday.

On a year-over-year basis, the association said there were 49,480 homes sold in April, up 11.5 per cent from 44,370 a year ago when sales slowed following a tightening of mortgage lending rules that came into effect in March 2011.

The average home price in Canada in April was up 0.9 per cent from a year ago at $375,810.

“It bears repeating that the national average price was skewed higher last spring by record level high-end home sales in Vancouver’s priciest neighbourhoods, and that a replay of this phenomenon was not expected this year,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

Sales in Canada’s largest markets are having opposite effects on the national average, with slowing sales in Vancouver dragging, and soaring sales and prices in Toronto exerting upward pressure.

The average selling price in Vancouver was down 9.8 per cent compared with a year ago at $735,315, while the average price in Toronto was up 8.4 per cent at $517,556.

Excluding Toronto and Vancouver, the average price in Canada was up 3.1 per cent from a year ago.

The number of newly listed homes pared back 0.2 per cent from March to April, which, combined with slightly higher sales resulted in a tighter national housing market.

“The national housing market tightened marginally in April due to higher sales and stable new listings, but remains firmly entrenched in balanced market territory.”

A total of 157,804 homes have traded hands so far this year, up 6.4 per cent from levels reported in the first four months of 2011.

That’s also about four per cent higher than both the five- and 10-year averages for sales during the first third of the year.

Sales on CREA’s Multiple Listing Service was either up or held steady in half of all local markets, with Toronto and Calgary posting the biggest monthly increases for the second consecutive month.

Gains in Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton, as well as London and St. Thomas, Ont., also contributed to the increased sales, offsetting declines in Ottawa, Windsor-Essex, Quebec City, the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver.

“Trends in Vancouver and Toronto continue to diverge. These two housing markets have an obvious influence on national statistics and a high profile, but Canada is a big place,” said Wayne Moen, CREA President.

Source: The Vancouver Sun



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