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OTTAWA — The Canadian housing market is off to a strong start this year, with gains in sales and prices in most major markets, according to a report released Thursday from real-estate company Re/Max.

 

It said sales for January and February were up in 12 of the 15 markets it assessed compared to a year earlier, most by 10 per cent or more. It credited low mortgage rates, strong consumer confidence and even some mild weather, which it said helped usher in an early spring buying season.

 

"Given the current economic climate, the strength of the country's housing market clearly reflects the value Canadians place on home ownership," Michael Polzler, an executive vice-president with Re/Max, said in a statement.

 

"One driving factor has been the overall performance of the market over the past decade. Existing homeowners have realized substantial equity gains, especially in recent years, and many are taking advantage of the combination of historically low interest rates and equity to upgrade."

 

Prices were up in 14 of the 15 markets analyzed, but just three — the Greater Toronto Area, Winnipeg and St. John's — broke the double-digit mark, each with gains of 10 per cent, Re/Max said.

 

Vancouver-area sales were down 16 per cent in the early part of the year, joining Winnipeg and Kitcherner-Wateloo, Ont., as the only spots where sales were down from one year earlier, Re/Max said. Still, Vancouver had the highest average sales price of any market, at $786,695, up 0.1 per cent from last year.

 

The average price in the Toronto area was $487,254, and Re/Max said about half the detached homes there in the price range of $600,000 to $900,000 have sold for more than their listed price.

 

Postmedia News

 

 


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