Price of a home up 10.8 per cent from year ago in Q4: Royal LePage

TORONTO — Canada’s residential real estate market saw strong but slowing year-over-year price growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to a report by Royal LePage.

The real estate company said that based on data in 53 markets, the price of a home in Canada increased 10.8 per cent year-over-year to $626,042 in the quarter.

Broken down by housing type, Royal LePage said the median price of a two-storey home rose 11.1 per cent year-over-year to $741,924, and the median price of a bungalow climbed 7.1 per cent to $522,963.

But the company said in its report released Wednesday that the median price of a condo grew faster than any other housing type studied, rising 14.3 per cent to $420,823 on a year-over-year basis due to gains in many of the largest markets.

In the Greater Toronto Area, the median price of a condo grew 19.5 per cent year-over-year to $476,421, while in the City of Toronto, the cost of a condo rose 19.6 per cent to $515,578.

In Greater Vancouver, condominiums followed a similar pattern during the quarter, rising 20.2 per cent to $651,885, while the median price of a condo unit in the City of Vancouver rose 18.7 per cent to $775,806.

In a separate report that examined luxury home sales, Sotheby’s International Realty said sales in the Greater Toronto Area of homes over $1 million in 2017 slowed in the second half of the year following a move by the Ontario government to cool the market.

Sales of homes over $1 million in the GTA in the second half of the year were down 56 per cent compared with the first six months of 2017 and down 33 per cent compared with the second half of 2016.

However, sales of homes over $1 million in the region for all of 2017 were up five per cent compared with 2016 due to the hot start to the year and strong condo sales. Sales of condos over $1 million in Canada’s largest city climbed 59 per cent compared with 2016, while sales of those over $4 million rose 82 per cent.

Sotheby’s CEO Brad Henderson said the condo market’s strength is persisting because there’s a “scarce” number of affordable, family homes in the city and surrounding regions, and increasing numbers of empty-nesters looking to move closer to their kids downtown.

“The condo market will continue to be a strong and resilient class of real estate,” Henderson said.

“It is a much more affordable opportunity, even in the luxury level, and there is considerable demand.”

Calgary saw overall home sales over $1 million increase 11 per cent year-over-year, while sales in the $1 million-plus real estate market increased 20 per cent in Montreal.

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s said sales of homes over $1 million in Vancouver fell five per cent compared with 2016, while those over $4 million fell by 33 per cent.

Royal LePage said the GTA showed signs of slowing as 2017 drew to a close, notably in the single-family detached segment.

In the fourth quarter, the median price of a two-storey home and bungalow in Toronto and surrounding area fell by 2.0 and 2.4 per cent respectively on a quarter-over-quarter basis.

The company says condos were the only segment to appreciate on a quarter-over-quarter basis among all housing types, rising 1.1 per cent in the final three months of the year.

At the same time, the price of two-storey homes and bungalows fell 0.3 and 0.2 per cent quarter-over-quarter, respectively.

“To prospective homeowners in our largest cities, condominiums represent the last bastion of affordability,” said Royal LePage president and CEO Phil Soper.

“This is especially true for first-time buyers whose purchasing power has been reduced by tightening mortgage regulations.”

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