Toronto, Vancouver drive overvaluation in Canada housing: agency

FILE PHOTO: A real estate for sale sign is pictured in front of a home in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ben Nelms/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s housing market still shows evidence of overvaluation, particularly in and around Toronto and Vancouver, despite slowing growth in prices, the federal housing agency said on Tuesday.

With prices remaining high relative to salaries and demographics, the housing boom in Canada’s biggest cities leaves the national market vulnerable, marking the sixth consecutive quarter of concern, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said. The report is based on data from September 2017 and market intelligence as of December 2017.

“While house price growth has slowed, house price levels remained high relative to underlying economic fundamentals such as income and population growth. Therefore, we continue to find strong evidence of overvaluation,” said Dana Senagama, CMHC’s principal market analyst for Toronto.

While the housing market in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has shown some signs of slowing after repeated moves to tighten mortgage lending, analysts are divided about whether the market will rebound or see a sharp price correction.

The CMHC’s quarterly report found strong evidence of overvaluation in Toronto, Vancouver, Hamilton and Victoria, and overheating was detected in Vancouver as demand for condos remained elevated and inventories were near record lows.

Evidence of overbuilding was also seen in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina, though house prices were broadly in line with fundamentals, the report showed.

Reporting by Andrea Hopkins, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien