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Joe Malec & Carol Moore
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 Tuesday, December 18, 2018     unknown   

Photo: abdallahh/Flickr

With under a month left in the year, a picture of the Canadian housing market’s clear winners — and losers — is quickly emerging.

Following the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)’s release of November home sales data today, BMO ranks the country’s biggest markets in terms of how average prices have performed over the past 11 months.

Montreal has outperformed all other major markets, with prices up 5.5 percent so far this year, followed by Ottawa, where prices have grown by 3.6 percent.

“With solid market balances and steady underlying economies, we expect these cities to remain generally healthy in 2019,” writes Douglas Porter, BMO’s chief economist, in a report.

BMO notes that the hottest markets in the country are actually mid-sized Ontario cities, with home prices in London and Windsor surging by double digits, the only cities in the country to achieve this rate of growth.

Prices were up 2.1 percent in Halifax, while Winnipeg and Vancouver have both seen gains of 1.8 percent from January to November.

For Vancouver at least, it appears the number is set to drop as sales in November plummeted 42 percent on a year-over-year basis.

“Prices are gearing down,” says Porter, noting how far sales activity has fallen from a year ago, partly the result of provincial policy such as the increased foreign-homebuyer tax.

The remaining four markets all recorded year-to-date price drops, led by the country’s most-active housing market, Toronto.

Toronto home prices have dropped 4.8 percent this year — faring worse than the national average, which was down 4.1 percent — while sales are off last year’s tally achieved over the same period by 16 percent.

“Notably, with the late-year pullback in sales, the GTA’s market balance is below the national average, suggesting there is no quick turn on the horizon,” says Porter.

Declines in Regina weren’t far off at 4.2 percent, while Edmonton prices tumbled 1.6 percent. Meantime, Calgary prices declined by 1.2 percent.

“The soggy story is echoed across most of the Prairies, which generally struggled through a tough year,” Porter notes, adding worries over slumping oil prices once again roiled Calgary’s market in November.

“The more recent rebound in Canadian oil prices may put a floor under confidence, but with global prices hovering around their lows for the year, we wouldn’t look for a big snap-back in oil-related cities in 2019,” he explains.


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