Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Housing sales soar in Ontario's biggest cities

Courtesy of Financial Post

TORONTO - Despite all the talk of a housing downturn and economic crisis in
Ontario, the province's two biggest cities both saw record housing resales
last month for the month of June.

The Toronto Real Estate Board said Monday there were 10,955 sales in the
Greater Toronto Area in June, a 27% increase from the 8,600 homes sold a
year ago. It was the best June for sales since the board started tracking
the numbers in the mid 1960s.

In Ottawa, housing sales jumped 12.5% in June to 1,895, also a new record
for the month.

The average sale price in the GTA last month $403,972, up 2% from a year
earlier. In Ottawa, the average sale price rose 3% annually to $306,925.

"I think the next stage" might be price pressure, said Doug Porter, deputy
chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. "The moderation we have seen in
prices may not last long if this kind of sales and listing balance remains
in place."

Porter said the mad scramble to buy a house is playing out across the
country, as consumers wade back into the market tempted by interest rates
the lowest they've been in 50 years. Five-year fixed rate mortgages were as
low as 3.75% last month, though they've nudged back up to about 4.5% since.(editor's note, using a mortgage broker gives you access to 5 year rates of 4.24% OAC)

"Vancouver sales were up about 76% from a year ago, the second best June
ever for them. Calgary sales were up 27%, and Edmonton sales were up 38%,"
said the economist. "A lot of people emerged from their foxholes over the
winter and have been brought in by low mortgage rates or a belief the
economy is going to improve.

"There was some pent-up demand; things almost froze over solid over the

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