OPINION: Without Vancouver, the Composite index would have declined for a fourth month in a row (top chart). The strength of Vancouver’s index is consistent with continued tight home resale market conditions. Toronto’s index declined for a fifth consecutive month, but the unsmoothed index (see note on methodology on next page) rose for a second month in a row (middle chart). Unless the unsmoothed index relapses in January, the sequence of declines in the smoothed index should then be interrupted. However this improvement is likely to prove temporary, as it might have resulted from buyers rushing to avoid the new bylaws on qualification for an uninsured mortgage (implemented in January 2018). This view is supported by the increase in Toronto home sales in November and December compared to previous months (bottom chart). Therefore, a resumption of the downward price trend early this year cannot be excluded.
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