Busiest March ever for Canadian housing listings – #Toronto #Realestate #Business #Money #Finance #Economy #Ottawa

Busiest March ever for Canadian housing listings

Sold sign

Sold sign

Homeowners trying to sell now to beat higher interest rates, tougher mortgage rules

Steve Ladurantaye

Real Estate Reporter From Friday’s Globe and Mail

Homeowners across the country are frantically planting “for sale” signs on their lawns this spring, hoping to sell at the top of the market before higher rates and tougher mortgage qualification rules temper the housing sector’s incredible recovery.

A wave of supply hit Canada’s housing market in March, with nearly 100,000 new listings. It was the busiest March on record for listings, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

The data suggest buyers entered the market to sidestep tougher mortgage qualification requirements that went into effect on Monday, as well as to avoid new taxes being introduced in Ontario and British Columbia this summer.

Things are still tight, but they are much better than even a few months ago. — CREA economist Gregory Klump

Sellers have been motivated by attractive prices – the national average was $340,920 in March, the second highest on record. Prices have rebounded 17.6 per cent in a year, after falling off through the recession.

“I understand it is an active market right now and I’ll get a better price if I move quickly,” said Lori Briard, whose Ottawa-area bungalow is listed for $440,000. “We weren’t planning to sell so soon, but you have to go with what’s happening out there.”

She bought the house as a renovation project at the height of the recession for $345,000, planning to flip it in three years. As she saw activity picking up in her neighbourhood, she fast-tracked the three-year plan, worrying that if she waits too long, she may miss the market’s peak.

“People are concerned about things like higher mortgage rates and we may as well take advantage of that,” Ms. Briard said. “Later this year, they may not be as motivated.”

Indeed, real estate agents in some of the country’s busiest markets are already seeing signs that buyers are tired of competing.

Don Edmunds, an agent at ReMax Jazz Inc. in Oshawa, Ont., said the kind of houses that sold in a day a few months ago are now lingering a little longer as buyers back away from bidding wars and take time to browse new listings, which have increased by 90 per cent in his area compared to last year.

“When buyers hear there is more than one buyer, they walk away unless it is the absolute perfect house at the absolute perfect price,” he said. “I’m actually seeing a bit of a lull right now, because people are able to take their time a little bit. It’s quite a change.”

There were 97,663 homes put up for sale last month, a 20-per-cent jump from the previous high set in March 2008. A total of 233,402 listings have been booked since the beginning of the year, the most for any first quarter on record.

New listings are important because they can help moderate sharp price increases that occur in a sellers’ market, as buyers are forced to compete for what little is available.

It’s still a tight market. There were 214,312 homes listed for sale nationally at the end of March, a decline of nine per cent compared to a year ago. Economists suggest that could change quickly after the spring rush, with homes taking longer to sell for the rest of the year and prices likely to edge lower.

“Rising supply and slowing activity will take the steam out of the pricing environment following upbeat sales this spring,” said CREA economist Gregory Klump. “Things are still tight, but they are much better than even a few months ago.”

Sales increased 40.8 per cent from last March and 1.4 per cent month-over-month, although they have slowed slightly when looked at on a quarterly basis.

In the first quarter, seasonally adjusted sales hit 130,072 homes, the fourth highest level on record. That’s a 3.4-per-cent decrease from the fourth quarter, when a sizzling market spurred talk of a bubble among economists and pushed the federal government to enact tougher mortgage rules to ensure consumers would be able to afford their mortgages should interest rates rise.

“We expect sales to remain brisk through the key spring season, given improving labour market conditions and still low financing costs,” said Scotia Capital economist Derek Holt. “However, this should give way to more subdued activity in the second half of the year, as higher borrowing costs and high home prices erode affordability.”

Posted via web from Toronto Real Estate News, Blog

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About Tariq Sultan
Dear Readers, I am a dedicated Toronto, Ontario based real estate professional who has been successfully meeting and exceeding the needs of his clients for past several years. I am actively involved in the insurance, financing, and mortgage industry. Real estate is not only my career – it is my passion. I strive to continuously provide my clients with exceptional service to ensure they are fully satisfied when it comes to their real estate needs. For any real estate related inquires contact me today, I will be happy to assist you. Best wishes, Tariq Sultan

One Response to Busiest March ever for Canadian housing listings – #Toronto #Realestate #Business #Money #Finance #Economy #Ottawa

  1. Pingback: Busiest March ever for Canadian housing listings – #Toronto … Card on me

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