Home sales soared in Canada’s two most expensive housing markets in October.
Greater Vancouver home sales were up by 45.4% last month compared with the previous year, while Greater Toronto Area sales were up by 14%.
Gains for the Vancouver area followed a similar increase in September and marked the fourth consecutive month of rising sales after significant declines at the start of 2019.
GTA home sales also rebounded from declines at the start of the year, though they were much more moderate than what Vancouver experienced. Michael Collins, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s president, said that GTA home sales have been helped along by the economy and population gains.
"A strong regional economy obviously fuels population growth. All of these new households need a place to live, and many have the goal of purchasing a home," Collins said.
For Toronto, the robust demand and economy have pushed home prices up. The composite benchmark price rose by 5.8% last month, the strongest annual growth rate since December 2017, while the average selling price was up by 5.5% to $852,142.
In Vancouver, the boost in sales was in part due to price declines. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) said that the composite benchmark price dropped by 6.4% from last year to $992,900 and was down by 1.7% over the past six months.
Ashley Smith, REBGV‘s president, said that buyers are returning to the market with more confidence than the first half of the year.
"With prices edging down over the last year and interest rates remaining low, hopeful home buyers are becoming more active this fall,” Smith said.
Housing markets have seen a boost this year as fixed mortgage rates have fallen for much of the year after rising for much of the past two years, according to The Canadian Press.