Housing sales in Toronto in October fell but sales out west showed strength.

According to data unveiled Friday by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), that's the current Canadian housing sale landscape. Overall, there was little change in home sales during the month. A severe 2.9 per cent decline in Toronto was offset by upswings in the West, particularly in Vancouver and Calgary.

But, as the CREA reports shows, the sustained recovery in the overall Canadian market continues.

Vancouver and Calgary respectively saw sales growth of 5.9 per cent and 2.1 per cent. The report shows that sales in Montreal were flat while sales in nearby Ottawa grew modestly.

The more rigid mortgage stress test, introduced at the start of 2018, combined with lower borrowing costs has led to a rebound in residential housing sales in 2019. Overall,  the housing industry is having a positive impact on Canadian economic growth and real estate activity is back above its 10-year average, despite the imposition of taxes on foreign buyers in Toronto and Vancouver.

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“The solid results simply drum home the point that the housing sector has returned to the status of a growth driver, rather than the growth dimmer it had been over the past two years,” Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal, is reported as saying in Bloomberg News.

“The relative pick-up in household borrowing is a key reason that the Bank of Canada has been a bystander to the global rate-cut parade,” says Porter's note to clients.

Bloomberg also reports that benchmark prices continued their recovery. They rose 1.8 per cent from a year earlier, with a 0.6 per cent gain on the month.

Meanwhile, central Canadian markets are tightening, even though Calgary, Vancouver,  and other western cities have lower prices than a year ago.  Montreal’s rose 7.5 per cent and Toronto’s prices are up 5.6 per cent. Prices in  Ottawa are up 10.3 per cent..

CREA reported that the sales to new listings ratio rose to 64 per cent, calling it a sign that markets are tilting in favour of sellers.
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