Toronto Skyline by Abi K
Although discussions about Canada’s housing bubble and Toronto’s overheated market are still alive, the current situation combined with the newest real estate predictions suggest that neither Canada’s nor Toronto’s housing market are in serious danger right now.
Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) informed that in February 2012, Toronto’s sales increased by 16 per cent compared to February 2011. However, 2012 is a leap year and it’s much more reasonable to compare the first 28 days of February. In this case, sales were up by 10 per cent. New listings grew by 6 per cent in the first 28 days and 11 per cent over the whole month. The growth was surprising, as all the previous forecasts predicted lower levels. As usual, Torontonians bought mostly detached houses (48.7 per cent of all sales) and condo apartments (24.5 per cent).
The newest predictions about Canada’s housing market by Bank of Nova Scotia claims that a “slowdown in global growth over the past year has sapped some of the strength from Canada’s formerly hot real estate sector, particularly in major urban centers such as Vancouver and Toronto.” The Bank expects that Canada’s housing market will cool off this year, and that home sales and prices should remain flat near 2011 levels but will avoid any extremely sharp plunge like in the U.S. after the housing bubble collapse. Scotiabank senior economist and real estate specialist Adrienne Warren predicted, according to Canadian Real Estate Association data, that housing starts will drop to 185,000, down from the 194,000, in 2011. Sales are likely to remain near last year’s total of 456,749 units.
Economists at Reuters also tried to predict the real estate situation in Canada in a survey last month, when 10 of 14 of them expected home prices to stall, with a mere 0.1 per cent rise this year. “There has been a wide variety of opinion, but they tend to be from modestly optimistic to mildly pessimistic,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Brookfield Real Estate Services.