Canadian 2013 home sales, prices look slightly stronger than expected

Sales of previously owned Canadian homes are turning out slightly higher than expected overall, and 2014 will be even stronger, according to a new projection from the country’s largest real estate association.

OTTAWA — Sales of previously owned Canadian homes are turning out slightly higher than expected overall, and 2014 will be even stronger, according to a new projection from the country’s largest real estate association.

The Canadian Real Estate Association’s 2013 sales projections have been increased slightly upward in Ontario and the four western provinces and that prices have been generally firmer than expected.

“Most housing markets are well balanced, including many large urban centres,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

“Housing price gains are always stronger in places where supply is tight relative to demand, such as we’re seeing in Calgary and in parts of southern Ontario including the low rise market in Toronto.

“Prospects for price appreciation will be limited in parts of Quebec and some areas in the Maritimes, where competition among sellers has increased.”

Nationally, CREA is projecting 458,200 homes will be sold through its members this year — eight-tenths of a per cent more than in 2012.

CREA also anticipates next year will be even stronger, with 475,000 homes nationally.

The updated numbers are slightly ahead of a forecast in September by the association that predicted 449,900 homes sold this year and 465,600 in 2014.

CREA said Monday the 2013 projected national average price is $382,200, a 5.2 per cent increase from last year. The projected national average price for 2014 is $391,100, a 2.5 per cent increase from this year.

Alberta is forecast to post the biggest increase in average price in 2014 with a gain of 3.4 per cent, with gains in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Newfoundland and Labrador running just ahead of overall inflation, and the average price increase in Ontario running just below it.

CREA says November’s home sales dipped slightly from October but were up substantially from the same month last year, when the industry was going through a soft patch attributed to changes in federal rules for mortgage lenders and borrowers.

Home sales edged 0.1 per cent lower from October on a seasonally adjusted basis. Actual activity was 5.9 per cent above November 2012 levels.

The national average sale price rose 9.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis in November while the MLS Home Price Index, which CREA says is a better indicator, rose 4.1 per cent year-over-year in November.

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