November 16, 2015 / 2:17 PM / 3 years ago

Canada existing homes sales rise in October, Vancouver strong

TORONTO (Reuters) - Sales of existing homes in Canada rose in October from September led by strength in the Vancouver and Toronto markets despite signs of slack in the condo market, a report from the Canadian Real Estate Association showed on Monday.

Realtors' signs are hung outside a newly sold property in a Vancouver neighbourhood September 9, 2014. REUTERS/Julie Gordon

The industry group for Canadian real estate agents said sales activity was up 1.8 percent last month from September. Actual sales for October, not seasonally adjusted, rose 0.1 percent from October 2014.

CREA’s home price index rose 6.7 percent from October 2014.

The report showed single detached homes continue to be in short supply amid strong demand in Ontario and British Columbia, while an ample supply of condominiums remains.

“The balance between supply and demand is generally tighter for single detached homes than it is for condo apartments and that’s unlikely to change any time soon,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

“For that reason, price gains for single detached homes should continue to outstrip those for condo apartment units for some time,” he added.

Canadian home sales and prices have risen since 2009 but regional disparities have increased as economic growth is hindered by a long slump in oil prices. Housing in Toronto and Vancouver, the two largest markets, have continued to boom while many other markets are slowing.

The CREA report showed sales were up from year-ago levels in half of all local markets, led by the Vancouver region, Toronto, and Montreal. Gains there were largely offset by a drop in activity in the energy capital of Calgary, which has been hurt by the oil slump.

The sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 57.9 percent in October, still within the 40 percent to 60 percent range considered balanced, but several markets - mostly in British Columbia and Ontario - were considered sellers’ markets.

There were 5.5 months of inventory at the end of October, down from 5.7 months in September.

The national average home price rose 8.3 percent from October 2014 to C$454,976, pulled up by the disproportionately expensive homes in Toronto and Vancouver. When those two cities are excluded, the average price is a more modest C$339,059 and the year-over-year gain is reduced to 2.5 percent, CREA said.

Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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