'Sanity' returning to Toronto housing market, as Vancouver, Calgary show recovery: Royal LePage

Sales and price gains slowed in the Greater Toronto Area's real estate market in the second quarter, while home sales in Greater Vancouver and Calgary showed signs of recovery, Royal LePage says in its latest national survey and forecast.

National aggregate price of a home increased 13.8% year-over-year, survey finds

Royal LePage says home prices rose in a majority of metropolitan areas across the country in the second quarter. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

"Sanity" started returning to the Greater Toronto Area's real estate market in the second quarter, while home sales in Greater Vancouver and Calgary showed signs of recovery, Royal LePage says in its latest national survey and forecast.

On a country-wide basis,  Royal LePage said that sale information from 53 of Canada's largest markets showed the aggregate price of a home increased 13.8 per cent year-over-year to $609,144 in the second quarter.

For the rest of this year, the real estate firm is forecasting that the national aggregate price of a home will increase by 9.5 per cent in 2017 to $617,773 compared with the end of 2016. The aggregate price represents a weighted average of the median values for sales in the two-storey, bungalow and condominium categories.

"Following a period of unprecedented regional disparity in activity and price appreciation, we are now seeing a return to healthy growth in the majority of Canadian housing markets," said Royal LePage chief executive Phil Soper.

"The white-hot markets are moderating to very warm; the depressed markets are beginning to grow again," Soper said in a release.

Balance returns in GTA

"Sanity began to return to the Greater Toronto Area, where a slowing of both price appreciation and sales activity was evident," Royal LePage said in its release. "In Greater Vancouver and Calgary, home sales began to recover after significant market downturns."

Royal LePage said growth in prices and sales slowed in the GTA in the April-June period, as falling affordability and government legislation pushed many buyers to the sidelines, which "at least temporarily" brought some balance to the market.

"For the first time in years, buyers are able to include reasonable conditions in their offers and multiple bid situations are somewhat less frequent," Soper said.

During the second quarter, the aggregate price of a home in the Greater Toronto Area rose 24 per cent to $837,232, while the price of a home in the City of Toronto jumped 22.8 per cent year-over-year to $843,590.

In Toronto's surrounding suburbs, including Vaughan, Oshawa, Richmond Hill, Markham, Mississauga and Oakville, prices showed increases ranging from 23 per cent to 27 per cent.

Looking ahead,  Royal LePage said the Toronto area market is projected to finish 2017 with a price gain of more than 18 per cent over the end of 2016. The aggregate price of a home in the GTA is projected to hit $862,264 for the fourth quarter of this year.

The majority of Ontario's housing markets are expected to continue seeing strong year-over-year growth for the remainder of 2017, led by continued double-digit increases in the Golden Horseshoe, the real estate firm said.

Poised to rebound

For B.C.'s Lower Mainland, Royal LePage said home prices are poised to resume an upward path nearly a year after the provincial government's regulatory intervention "bruised consumer confidence and depressed sales activity."

In the April-June period, the aggregate price of a home in Greater Vancouver increased 2.6 per cent year-over-year to $1,181,309, showing a marked decline in price gains compared to previous quarters.

"The surprising resilience of the British Columbia economy, despite slowed growth in the housing market, has caused some forecasters to boost their growth expectations for the province," Royal LePage said.

For the remainder of the year, Greater Vancouver is expected to see a low single-digit home price increase, the firm said. 

Gains in Alberta

The Calgary market saw posted its strongest year-over-year home price gains since the downturn in the price of oil, Royal LePage said. With employment rising, the city saw a home price increase of 4.4 per cent  $472,798 in the second quarter.

The Edmonton market followed with a price increase of 3.8 per cent

"With economic stability re-emerging in the region, home prices are expected to increase in the low- to mid-single-digit range by year-end," Royal LePage said, forecasting a year-end price increase of five per cent in Calgary, and 2.5 per cent for Edmonton.


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