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Spring in step of Vancouver and Toronto markets
Vancouver (left) and Toronto real estate prices are rising

Spring in step of Vancouver and Toronto markets

Annual property sale volumes have increased by up to 40% in Vancouver and Toronto in February and prices in both cities are on the rise, too

Prices and volumes in Canada’s two main cities are both rising, the latest figures show, boosted by the promise of spring and a more active market.

Volumes in Vancouver, British Columbia, rose by a healthy 40.8% year-on-year to 2,530 Greater Vancouver home sales on the Multiple Listing Service, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). The total was in line with the 10-year average.

Nicola Way, owner of property website,, who is based in Vancouver, tells OPP Connect prices look set to keep rising, “Certainly most single-family homes (ie. detached) in Vancouver continue to sell quickly due to rising demand for this type of property. Land is in short supply due to the city’s natural barriers of mountains and ocean, so the only way is up.

“Many houses, once purchased, are being demolished to make way for larger properties which maximize the amount of living space allowed within the parameters of the lot size. Laneway houses and basement suites are also included to generate revenue.”

The benchmark average price to 3.2% annually to CAN$609,100, the detached single-family homes fetching CAN$932,900, up 3.5% year-on-year, says the MLS® Home Price Index.

REBGV President Sandra Wyant says, “Home buyer demand picked up in February, which is consistent with typical seasonal patterns in our housing market. We typically see home buyers become more active in and around the spring months.”

One reason for the higher pricing could be that there are fewer homes on sale than last year, with 13,412, currently listed, down 9.3% on February 2013.

Total transactions in all major property types achieved impressive annual increases in volume.

Sales of detached properties in February 2014 reached 1,032, up 46.6% on the 704 in February 2013, but 6.3% down on February 2012.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,032, up 35.8% on last year and 1.2% on February 2012. The benchmark value rose 3.6% annually to CAN$373,300.

Attached property sales in February 2014 totalled 466, up 39.9% on February 2013, and a 9.9% on the previous February 2012. The benchmark price rose 0.6% year-on-year to $458,300.

The sales-to-active-listings ratio in Greater Vancouver is 18.9%, up a 4.9% on January 2014.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, Ontario, February volumes rose 2.1% year-on-year – but prices did even better, rising 8.6% annually, says the Toronto Real Estate Board.

The average selling price for February 2014 sales was up by 8.6% to CAN$553,193 and with increased listings expected, sales growth is likely to continue, it says.

President Dianne Usher says, “Despite the continuation of inclement weather in February, we did see a moderate uptick in sales activity last month.

“The sales increase was largely driven by resale condominium apartments.  New listings of resale condominium apartments were up on a year-over-year basis, giving buyers ample choice.  This is in contrast to the listings situation for singles, semis and townhomes, where supply continued to be constrained.  Some would-be buyers had difficulty finding a home that met their needs.

“If we see renewed growth in listings for low-rise home types, the pace of sales growth will accelerate as we move through the year.”

The results come a few weeks after a panel of economists told Reuters they were concerned over a possible collapse in Canada’s property market, although the consensus was that if it came at all, it would not be before 2016.

* More than a third of Canadians (34%) are willing to enter a bidding war to secure their desired home – which is 21% more than last year, according to a survey from the Bank Of Montreal (BMO). The most willing are buyers in Toronto (44%), followed closely by Vancouver at 41%.

By Adrian Bishop, Editor, OPP Connect

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