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The Canadian Real Estate Association said Friday it has cut its national outlook for home sales activity for the year by five per cent, saying the decline stems almost entirely from a downward revision to its outlook for the Ontario market.
CREA said in a release that it’s now forecasting sales activity through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system will come in at 506,900 units in 2017, a drop of more than 20,000 transactions from the June forecast.
Alberta is still projected to post the largest provincial increase in resale activity in 2017, with a gain of 7.4 per cent, but that will still leave sales below the province’s 10-year average, the report said.
CREA also said the national average price for resale transactions is forecast to rise by 3.4 per cent this year to $ 506,700. Again, that is a downward revision to CREA’s previous forecast of $ 526,000, mostly due to fewer high-priced sales in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region.
Changes in sales activity in the Greater Golden Horseshoe have a large influence on results for the province and nationally because the region is home to roughly a quarter of the Canadian population, CREA said.
The small gain broke a string of four straight declines, but still leaves activity 13.8 per cent below the record set in March.
CREA said an August rebound in the Greater Toronto Area, where resales rose 14.3 per cent from July, fuelled the national increase. Factoring out the impact of the GTA from the national picture, sales activity was flat.
The latest sales report follows the Bank of Canada move to begin raising lending rates in July. The central bank bumped up a key rate by a quarter of a percentage point, marking its first interest rate hike in seven years. The bank also raised the lending rate by another quarter percentage point this month.
“Experience shows that homebuyers watch mortgage rates carefully and that recent interest rate increases will prompt some to make an offer before rates move higher, while moving others to the sidelines,” said CREA president Andrew Peck in a statement.