Midwinter keeps growing bleaker for the economy, with the number of home resales in January sagging 40.9 per cent below a year ago. National average prices declined 11.3 per cent year-over-year, according to Canadian Real Estate Association data released Friday.
The association said seasonally adjusted sales through the Multiple Listing Service were down 3.1 per cent from December. In seasonally adjusted terms, sales now stand at the lowest level since the mid-1990s and barely half the heated pace seen in early 2007.
This may not be the news that sellers are looking for but as for buyers, well, thats all they want to hear. With more merchandise on the market the competition will force home prices down even further in some areas and with today's low interest mortgage rates Toronto is shaping up to be another investors paradise.
While another particularly harsh winter may have played a small role in the dismal sales figures, there is little doubt that Canadians are hunkering down amid widespread job losses and sagging consumer confidence.
The pace of seasonally adjusted monthly price declines eased in December and January compared with steep month-to-month tumbles of 14.9 per cent in October and 11.8 per cent in November. Adjusted for weather and other factors January's year-over-year volume decline was 37.3 per cent, while the adjusted price slump was 6.2 per cent.
Friday's real estate report said that as house sales eroded, the number of listings also receded, posting the sharpest year-over-year decline on record, down 14.2 per cent from January 2008.
The decline in supply to meet lower demand is expected to help stabilize the resale housing market balance and put a floor under prices.
The ongoing sharp drop in home sales points to further declines in prices as well as a deeper pullback in new home building. The deepening recession, which began in earnest among exporters, is now more forcefully dragging down the domestic side of the economy.
Consumer bankruptcy filings in December were up almost 47 per cent from a year earlier, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy said Monday. The same day, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said housing starts in January fell 10.9 per cent from December to the slowest pace since 2001.
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