Home sales rise, listings decline: Conference Board

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Housing prices will continue to rise in the short term even as Canada’s resale housing market tightened slightly in November, as sales rose in more than 50 per cent of markets while the number of listings declined, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

Sales rose in 16 of the 28 markets the board tracks for its metro resale index, with seven of those markets posing a gain of more than five per cent over October’s number. Year-over-year sales rose in 15 areas, down from October, when 20 of the urban areas posted sales growth over 2010.

“The supply of new listings fell in 23 of 28 markets in November, but still exceeded year-earlier levels in 20 jurisdictions,” the board said. “An easing in supply of listings, combined with slightly weaker sales gains, lifted the sales-to-listings ratio in November in 23 markets. This left four areas as ‘sellers’ markets, while 21 remain ‘balanced’.”

The drop in listings resulted in higher prices in 17 areas month-over-month, while the year-over-year price was higher in 19 — with 16 markets recording growth of four per cent or more.

The Conference Board predicts all but three of the 28 markets it tracks for the index will see some increase in housing prices in the short term — the Ontario cities of Oshawa, London and Windsor being the exceptions.

Saskatoon and several Quebec markets — Gatineau, Montreal, Quebec, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivieres and Saguenay — are expected to see the biggest increases in housing prices in the near term, the board said, predicting a seven per cent year-over-year gain.

A five per cent gain appears to be in the cards for Victoria, Vancouver, B.C.’s Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Halifax and Newfoundland, the board said. It expects housing prices to rise three per cent in Saint John, as well as the Ontario centres of Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Toronto, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Kitchener, Kingston and Ottawa.

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