Home sales hit record high, says real estate association

Homes under construction in a new subdivision THE CANADIAN PRESS  Jeff McIntosh

Leaders from all three levels of government collectively acknowledged Tuesday that action is needed to cool the city's red-hot housing market, but at the same time sounded a note of caution that any action must be created to carefully cool the embers rather than dump cold water on the problem.

While no immediate action is expected from the gathering of Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Toronto Mayor John Tory, all three are pushing for policy options to contain prices without crashing the market.

CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal said it looks like the Vancouver market has hit bottom and started to recover. The big realtor also suggests that the effect of the tax on foreign buyers in Vancouver is wearing off. Homes there continued to increase in value in the past month by close to 50 per cent on a month-over-month basis. "I hope today's meeting sends a message that we are concerned, we are preparing for intervention if needed and we're committed to keeping Toronto as affordable as possible".

Guleph, Ontario recorded a 1.4% home price increase month over month, and Oshawa, Ontario recorded a 1.2% increase. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said last week the price gains are "divorced" from the usual measures of demand, such as income growth and demographics, and deemed them unsustainable. The provincial government is "aware that a response is needed now to address recent dramatic increases in rents and home prices", he said.

In Ontario, according to Sousa, property scalping involves only new developments, adding at least some of the housing measures will be included in the Ontario budget, set to be tabled April 27.

Sales in Vancouver cooled a year ago in the wake of a tax on foreign buyers.


Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao is also urging his federal and provincial counterparts to work on better methods to collect data on housing, saying in an interview that a lot of current commentary on the influx of foreign money in Canada is based on anecdotes.

"What's worse is young families who are actually trying to get into the queue, into the lineup to buy that first home, are getting crowded out", he said.

Three levels of government facing a red-hot housing market in the Greater Toronto Area have agreed Tuesday not to introduce any measures that would further boost demand and drive prices even higher.

It was a record-breaking month for Canadian real estate in March.

In the letters, Morneau requested a meeting with them to address housing affordability in the Greater Toronto Area, where the average price of a detached home was more than $1.2 million in March, up 33.4 per cent from a year earlier.

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