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Toronto house prices dip slightly in December

By Susan Pigg – Toronto Star MoneyVille

House sales — and doom-defying price increases — are slow­ing, eas­ing con­cerns that the low­est inter­est rates in his­tory could cause the Cana­dian hous­ing mar­ket to overheat.

Com­ment: At least the doom­say­ers are finally fig­ur­ing out what a bub­ble means, and notic­ing that we are not in one. Prices may slow, but I doubt it. We have still lower record smash­ing mort­gage rates (2.99% for 5 years and as low as 3.84% for 10 years) and sales grow­ing at dou­ble the rate of new list­ings. It is still a sell­ers mar­ket and will be for the fore­see­able future. There are tons of pent-up buy­ers wait­ing in the wings for their dream homes. Until that back­log is satisi­fied, we can­not even think about a bal­anced mar­ket. And it is the demand, low sup­ply and low rates that will con­tinue to put upward pres­sure on prices. Sales vol­ume will sim­ply be a func­tion of sup­ply – the more list­ings there are, the more sales there will be.

Buy­ers are becom­ing “increas­ingly cau­tious,” but house sales are expected to con­tinue mak­ing a “sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to Cana­dian eco­nomic activ­ity” this year, says the Cana­dian Real Estate Association.

A total of 456,749 houses changed hands via Canada’s MLS sys­tem in 2011, up 2.2% from 2010, CREA reported in its monthly assess­ment of the mar­ket released Monday.

While Toronto house prices were actu­ally down in Decem­ber over Novem­ber when adjusted for sea­sonal fluc­tu­a­tions — they dipped about 2.4% putting the aver­age house at $466,540 — prices were up over­all some four% from Dec. 0f 2010.

Com­ment: This is silly, cre­at­ing news out of noth­ing. Every­thing dips from Novem­ber to Decem­ber, it does every year. Peo­ple are more con­cerned with the hol­i­days than real estate. You could write the same arti­cle in June, when sales and prices fall after the yearly peak in May. Or in August, which is lower than July usu­ally. There are monthly peaks and troughs, this is no sur­prise. May can be up to 15% higher than the low points in August and Decem­ber. Maybe at the end of June you could write how prices have shot up 10–15% since the begin­ning of the year. Trust me, watch the trends, you will see that my “pre­dic­tions” come true.

The aver­age Cana­dian house price was $358,480 when adjusted for sea­sonal fluc­tu­a­tions, up almost 1% from a year ago.

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Con­tact Lau­rin Jef­frey for more infor­ma­tion – 416−388−1960

Lau­rin Jef­frey is a Toronto Real­tor with Cen­tury 21 Regal Realty. He did not
write these arti­cles, he just repro­duces them here for peo­ple who are
inter­ested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

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