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Canadian home sales and prices were little changed in June, suggesting a pause in the recent rebound.
Transactions slipped 0.2 per cent from May, the first decline in four months, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Monday from Ottawa. Benchmark prices rose 0.3 per cent on the month on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The country’s housing market is still recovering from a weak start to the year, as buyers grappled with tighter mortgage rules. A recent rebound in the data is easing concern about a major correction in some of the larger centers. On a quarterly basis, sales climbed 5.3 per cemt, evidence of stabilization after two quarters of declines.
“The big story here is that sales and prices are essentially flat on a national basis, the market is close to overall balance, and sales activity is almost right on top of its 10-year average,” Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal, wrote in a note to clients. “In other words, the Canadian housing market is now actually kind of boring, which is likely exactly what policy makers would like to see.”
The data is diverging geographically, with the westernmost provinces still struggling. Home sales in the Pacific-coast city of Vancouver fell 5.5% in June, while Calgary sales pulled back 3.9%. Toronto, the country’s largest city, was flat at 0.2 per cent, and Montreal was up 2.7 per cent.
“While sales activity in Canada’s three westernmost provinces appears to have stopped deteriorating, it will be some time before supply and demand there becomes better balanced and the outlook for home prices improves,” Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist, said in a statement.
The quarterly figures for Vancouver, however, look somewhat better. Sales rose 12% in the three months through June, the most since the second quarter of 2017 and snapping a string of five consecutive quarters of declines that brought activity in the city to the lowest level since the 2009 recession.