Canadian economy gets rosy news

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The Canadian economy experienced some good news recently when the International Monetary Fund proclaimed that their outlook for the country was better than expected.

“Our outlook for the Canadian economy is a relatively rosy one,” said Roberto Cardarelli, mission chief for the IMF in Canada.

The IMF’s outlook includes growth for the economy during the second half of 2013 due to expanding capital expenditure budgets and a rise in exports. While growth is forecast to be subdued during 2013, reaching 1.8 percent, it is expected to increase to 2.5 percent annually by 2014. Continue reading

Sales decline but prices hold steady

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While home sales may be on the decline across Canada, home prices remain steady, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Data from the sales market has led the CREA to lower its sales forecast for this year and next. According to a report from the organization, sales decreased by 1.7 percent from October to November, with sales activity falling by 11.9 percent during November from the same time last year.

The organization credits weaker sales activity to mortgage restrictions put in place by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

“Lower than projected third quarter sales have downgraded the prospects for activity this year in almost every province,” the report stated. “Interest rates have remained low and the economic backdrop has remained supportive for housing activity, so that should leave little doubt that recent changes to mortgage regulations are responsible for having cooled activity.” Continue reading

Fiery Canadian housing market rapidly cools, fastest drop in home sales since 2010

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Remember those government housing rules created in July by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to cool the hotter-than-hot housing market down and prevent that supposed bubble from bursting and ruining everybody's lives? Well, it turns out those rules are doing just the trick, and changes are being seen in the Canadian housing market this month.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) recently released its measure of the country's housing market, noting that MLS home sales decreased almost 6 percent in August from July – the biggest one-month drop since June 2010. The MLS Home Price Index was also up 4 percent from this time last year, which marks the slowest industry gain in more than a year, according to an article in The Globe and Mail.

The CREA expects this trend to continue and sales drop well into 2013, approximately 1.9 percent. Although Ontario is expected to see the largest decline in home sales, Alberta and Manitoba may be immune to cooling and property sales drops. Although home price continues to rise in 2012, lower prices expected for next year may encourage first-time homebuyers to buy as properties become more affordable. Continue reading

Canadian housing market slowing, but remains the envy of the world

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After what seems like years of increasing home sales and low mortgage rates, could it be that the Canadian housing market is finally slowing down? Let's take a look at the evidence:

• Housing prices rose 5 percent during May – an increase, yes, but a much smaller one than in previous months.
• Growth in home sales in Toronto – the hottest market in the country – dropped by more than one-third compared with previous months.
• Home sales in British Columbia, particularly in Vancouver, continued to slide at dramatic rates, with the number of units sold falling roughly 16 percent from 2011.

This information, released earlier this week from the Canadian Real Estate Association, is among the first signs that the market as a whole may be coming to an end of the roller coaster ride of recent years. You may recall that the Royal Bank of Canada came out with similar numbers recently. Its analysis showed a decrease in the value of building permits, which could indicate slower growth down the line. Continue reading

Home sales up, but one expert warns of possible collapse

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Existing home sales in Canada inched up in April, piggybacking on the Toronto and Calgary markets, which handily outpaced the rest of the country, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

From March to April, home sales climbed 0.8 percent. In year-over-year numbers, the market was up 11.5 percent from the same period in 2011. The CREA speculates that tighter mortgage rules implemented in March of last year caused the market to stall, contributing to the big difference.

So far this year, Canadians have bought and/or sold 157,804 homes, 49,480 of which were sold last month. On the whole, according to the CREA, the market is balanced. The sales-to-new listings ratio, which signifies market health, is currently roughly 55.9 percent. Ratios of between 40 and 60 percent are considered balanced. Continue reading

CREA releases updated resale housing forecast

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The Canadian Real Estate Association recently updated its quarterly forecast for home sales activity and extended it through the next year.

The update was made via the Multiple Listing Service Systems of Canadian real estate boards and associations for this year and extended through 2013  with national home sales activity during that time expected to remain on par with the 10-year average for annual activity.

"CREA's updated housing market forecast reflects recent and prospective trends for provincial home sales activity coupled with prevailing provincial economic outlooks," said Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist. "Risks to the Canadian economic outlook remain elevated owing to the European sovereign debt quagmire, but the continuation of low interest rates is the silver lining." Continue reading

Canadian home sales activity increases 1.2 percent in October

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Fueled by continued low mortgage rates, Canadian home sales activity rose 1.2 percent in October from the previous month, keeping in line with the 10-year average for year-to-date sales.

According to a recent Canadian Real Estate Association report, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver paced the national market, as more than half of metropolitan areas witnessed sales increases.

"There was no shortage of headline news in October about global financial market volatility and economic uncertainty, but it doesn't appear to have dampened homebuyers' spirits," said Gary Morse, CREA's president. "Interest rates are at low levels and are likely to stay that way for some time to come. Homebuyers clearly see the opportunities that the current interest rate environment presents." Continue reading

Real estate boards unhappy with CREA’s increasing fees, business model

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Canadians have recently expressed desire to only pay for select real estate agent services when buying or selling a home, but now the agents are engaging in a similar battle.

According to a Montreal Gazette report, regional real estate organizations, such as the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board, are urging the Canadian Real Estate Association to adopt a similar free-for-service standard for its members.

The GMREB would consider leaving the the CREA at the end of next year if such changes aren't initiated, the report said. CREA's membership dues will rise 41 percent from 2010 to 2013. Continue reading

Real estate boards battling to limit available housing information

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With the age of information in full effect, prospective home buyers are increasingly interested in obtaining housing data on their own, instead of completely relying on a Realtor.

However, not all parties are on board with releasing information previously only available to real estate agents. According to the Globe and Mail, the Competition Tribunal is allowing the Canadian Real Estate Association to speak at a hearing, which was originally a dispute between only the Toronto Real Estate Board and the competition commission. Continue reading