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Toronto, Vancouver head in different directions

April 22, 2019

Greater Toronto saw March home sales holding steady from a year ago, a decline in new listings and a modest increase in benchmark prices compared to a year early.
Greater Vancouver, in contrast, experienced a startling 31.4 per cent drop in home sales to the lowest level in 33 years; a 7.7 per cent fall in home prices compared to a year earlier; and a 52.4 per cent surge in new listings.
At the recent Vancouver Real Estate Forum, Helmut Pastrick, chief economist with Central 1 Credit Union, said Vancouver is seeing a “policy-induced housing recession.”
Pastrick was referring to a string of provincial and federal government policies including a 20 per cent foreign buyer tax, a speculation tax, a vacant home tax and the federal mortgage stress test that have forced home sales to three-decade low.
According to Pastrick, the Greater Vancouver housing market has not yet hit bottom.
Vancouver also bucked the national housing construction trend in March by recording a drop in starts during the month. Building permits dropped 21 percent from February after sliding 29 percent in January from a month earlier, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reports.


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