Interest rate cut could ‘over-stimulate’ Toronto housing market: Report

Figures from Royal LePage suggest that Toronto had the hottest real estate market in the country during the second quarter, with double-digit increases in all types of housing.

The Vancouver market was also strong with double-digit price increases for two-storey homes and detached bungalows, although condo prices were up a more moderate 6 per cent.

But prices were down for some types of residential property in Montreal, Calgary and Winnipeg.

Royal LePage says other major markets across the country saw moderate increases or flat prices for most types of housing during the quarter, including Halifax, Fredericton, Ottawa and Edmonton.

The national average price of a bungalow was up 7.5 per cent from last year at $438,938, the average price for two-storey detached houses rose 6.8 per cent to $471,002 and the average condo price was $268,583, up 3.9 per cent.

Royal LePage released its quarterly report a day before the Bank of Canada's latest interest rate announcement and an updated outlook for economic growth.

There has been some speculation that Canada's central bank could lower its trend-setting short-term rate to stimulate the economy, as it did unexpectedly in January to offset the impact from a decline in oil prices that accelerated in November.

However, Royal LePage said a further decline in lending rates wasn't needed to boost the real estate market.

“With most Canadian real estate markets across the country advancing modestly, and some rapidly, Royal LePage advises that a further interest rate cut by the Bank of Canada could over-stimulate markets such as greater Toronto and Vancouver.”

It also said a decline in prices for some types of properties in some local markets has increased buyer interest.

Dominic St-Pierre, director for Royal LePage's Quebec region, said “the market has become more favourable for buyers and has seen a boost in sales volumes, supported by more competitive prices.”

Ted Zaharko, a Royal LePage broker in Calgary, said local prices have moderated only slightly despite the oil shock and election of a new provincial government.

Royal LePage said the standard condominium price in Calgary was up 1.6 per cent from a year ago at $291,022, while prices for standard two-storey homes declined 3.1 per cent to $474,239 and detached bungalows slipped 0.9 per cent to $496,689.

“The Calgary market has been remarkably stable with only marginal price differences compared to the same period last year,” Zaharko said.

He said the volume of transactions in Calgary was down compared with the same time last year, when oil prices were near recent highs, but about flat compared with the second quarter of 2013.

The Canadian Press