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The Canadian real estate industry says the housing market looks like something out of Goldilocks because it’s not “too hot and not too cold,” but don’t tell that to Vancouver buyers.

Home buyers in Canada’s most expensive city probably think the housing market in Vancouver is more comparable to the red hot oven in Hansel and Gretel.

The Vancouver market, said to be stoked by Asian speculators, continues to boost the overall national average sale price figure, which was up 8.6% in May from a year earlier to $376,817, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Vancouver prices were up 25.7% from a year ago to $831,555.

“Quite simply, no other city in the country is seeing anything remotely close to what’s unfolding in Vancouver. In fact, many large cities have posted price declines over the past year, notably Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax,” said Doug Porter, an economist with Bank of Montreal. “Among the other largest cities, only Toronto is showing anything close to overheating, and its 8.7% year over year price gain seems to fall well shy of bubble territory. Canada’s housing market appears to have enjoyed a healthy (but not too healthy) spring selling season, largely undeterred by generally lousy weather and the new tighter mortgage insurance rules. Most markets appear well balanced and unremarkable. Then there’s Vancouver.”

Ottawa-based CREA, which represents about 100 boards across the country, noted the 196,749 homes that have sold this year is in line with 10-year average activity for the first five months of the year.

“The Canadian housing market has seen some ups and downs in recent years making national sales activity so far this year look like something of a Goldilocks story by comparison — not too hot, not too cold,” said Gary Morse, president of CREA.

But CREA did note the Vancouver market which, along with the larger Toronto market, continues to “skew” national averages. Take out Vancouver from the national average and prices in May are up only 5.6% from a year ago. Remove Toronto as well and prices are up just 3.7%.”

Source: Garry Marr, Financial Post

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