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CREA revises 2011 forecast up slightly PDF Print E-mail
Written by HGO Staff   

OTTAWA (18 November 2011) - The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has revised its housing resale forecast for 2011 and 2012 slightly upward, believing interest rates will remain relatively low allowing Canadian consumers to remain active in the market.

In a statement, the realtors' group said sales activity via its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) was broadly in line with its earlier forecasts, except in Ontario whose market came in stronger than previously anticipated.

The uptick in Ontario pushed national activity up in the third quarter, prompting CREA to raise its annual sales forecast for 2011 form 0.9% to 1.4%.

"The continuing strength of home sales activity in the face of ongoing financial market volatility speaks volumes about the confidence of Canadians in our housing market," CREA president Gary Morse said in a statement. "Interest rates look like they'll remain low at levels that are friendly to the housing market for some time to come, and that's good news for Canadian home sales activity and the overall economy."

CREA is now forecasting sales in 2012 will ease by 0.5% to 451,200 units - a small upward revision from its previous 2012 sales forecast, reflecting its expectation that Canadian interest rates will remain low until well into next year.

The national average price has evolved as CREA expected, with average home prices in Vancouver moderating compared to levels in the first half of the year. Vancouver sales of multi-million dollar properties have returned to more normal levels after having shattered a number of monthly records this spring.

CREA's national average home price forecast for 2011 is little changed at $362,700 - an annual increase of 7.0%. In 2012, the national average price is forecast to hold even with the 2011.

"A number of factors will keep Canada's housing market in check as interest rates remain low," CREA chief economist Gregory Klump said. "These include tightened mortgage regulations, high household debt levels, together with slower economic and job growth. That said, with global economic growth expected to remain fragile but positive, employment levels and income growth in Canada should remain supportive for the housing market.

"Headline news about economic uncertainty has put only minor dents in consumer confidence," he continued, adding, "How confidence evolves depends on how global turmoil plays out over the coming months. Should global economic headwinds weigh more heavily than expected on Canadian economic prospects, the federal government and the Bank of Canada have made it clear they stand ready to take flexible and measured responses as appropriate. That's encouraging from the standpoint of the Canadian economic and housing market prospects."

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