October was another record month for Canadian real estate, even as the average price increased by a relatively modest 5.9 per cent.
The Canadian Real Estate Association said Tuesday that the average selling price of a Canadian home sold last month was $481,994. That's almost six per cent higher than the average in October 2015, a pace of growth that's well under the double-digit gains seen earlier this year.
Last month, Ottawa implemented new stress test rules for first-time buyers aimed at making sure they are capable of paying a higher interest rate on their mortgage than the one they have been offered. That change kicked in last month, and it's going to be a factor in the numbers over the long term, CREA said.
"More time will need to pass before its effect on housing markets can be gauged," CREA's chief economist Gregory Klump said. "The extent to which they will push first-time home buyers to the sidelines may vary among housing markets."
Prices may not have gone up at the same pace we are used to, but sales numbers are still booming. Typically, the housing market is slow in the early part of the year, heating up in the spring and through the summer. It then cools through autumn and slows to a crawl again during the winter.
So October is not typically a strong month for home sales. Still, this October was the strongest on record for the month, up more than two per cent from last year's strong level. All in all, more than 45,000 Canadian homes changed hands last month,
Sales were up in about 60 per cent of Canada's housing markets, led by the Fraser Valley in B.C., Calgary, Edmonton, the Hamilton-Burlington region in Ontario and Montreal.
"The pickup in housing demand across most housing markets in Canada," TD Bank economist Diana Petramala said, "is largely consistent with lower interest rates and potentially a near-term boost in demand as homebuyers try to get into the market before being subject to new mortgage regulations."