OPINION: Without Vancouver, the Composite Index would have declined in March and in 5 of the 6 preceding months (top chart). Speaking of Vancouver, inferring from Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver data, seasonally adjusted home sales have declined markedly over the last two months and the listings-to-sales ratio, while still in the sellers’ market territory, moved close to the balanced market boundary (middle chart). This should translate into moderate increases in Vancouver’s Index over the next few months. Apart from Vancouver and Victoria, March indices were below their recent peak in all regions, but the decline was the most obvious in Toronto (-7.3% since last July). This drop was likely triggered by Ontario’s implementation of the 15% Non-
Resident Speculation Tax followed by stricter rules for qualification for a mortgage (B20) and a rise in mortgage rates. As a result, Toronto monthly seasonally adjusted home sales, which had averaged more than 9,000 units over the previous 24 months, fell to less than 7,000 units on average since last May (bottom chart). Following this change in home sales pace, Toronto home resale market turned from very tight to balanced. With the two most important Canadian markets now in balanced territory or nearing it, a soft landing is the most likely outcome for the Canadian residential market.
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