Highlights from CMHC’s Housing Market Assessment conference call

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The Crown Corporation’s chief economist and a team of local analysts were on hand to discuss the latest Housing Market Assessment Report. These are three main stories to emerge from that call.

The country’s hottest real estate market?
At least in the GTA CMA – which, in itself, is considered one of the busiest areas in the country – Durham region is starting to boil.

“Durham, or particularly Oshawa CMA, is the hottest market right now in terms of sales-to-new-listings ratio. We’re looking at over 75%. It’s one of those markets that continually tends to attract a lot of first-time buyers and just buyers overall looking for larger homes,” Dana Senagama, principal market analyst for the GTA at CMHC, told reporters on the call Tuesday. “And the price point is about 50% or somewhat lower than the average house price in Toronto. So it’s one of the hottest markets and there is a lot of activity taking place in Durham.”

Vancouver’s multi-family market boiling over
Skyrocketing prices for single-family homes is nothing new in Vancouver, but that trend is increasingly carrying over to the multi-family sector.

“In terms of the overheating indicators that this is the first quarter that we showed moderate evidence. And that is simply that we have been waiting for a couple of quarters of evidence to be able to make that call,” Robyn Adamache, principal, market analysis in British Columbia at CMHC, told reporters. “Part of what contributed to making that call this quarter was that we have started to see the multi-family sector, including both town homes and apartments, also moving into overheated conditions in terms to sales-to-new-listings ratio, whereas before it had been mostly on the single-family side.”

Toronto’s influence on Hamilton
Anecdotal evidence – and, indeed, informed speculation – may suggest Toronto’s housing prices are pushing buyers west to Hamilton, thereby inflating the Hammer’s own prices.

However, CMHC isn’t sure that is the case.

“In terms of the impact from Toronto, unfortunately, we have a little bit of a data gap. We don’t have specific data that points to that,” Abdul Kargbo, senior market analyst for Hamilton and Brantford at CMHC, told reporters. “But if we look back at, say, 2013 migration pattern, we did see that Hamilton, for the most part, is attracting some buyers that are priced out of Toronto into Hamilton because Hamilton is relatively affordable.”

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