Home sales in Halifax area down 12.6%


The Chronicle Herald – January 16, 2016 Edition

OTTAWA –Sales of existing homes rose 10 per cent in December compared to the same month the previous year, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Friday.

But in the Halifax-Dartmouth area, December real estate sales were down 12.6 per cent, compared with the same month theprevious year, according to numbers released Friday.

The Canadian Real Estate Board said total residential and non-residential sales on the Multiple Listing Service for the area for December totalled $64.1 million.

Sales in the residential category declined 9.4 per cent for the same period, accounting for $60.3 million of total sales for the month.

Nova Scotia’s average houseprice dropped to $214,583 in December, representing a 2.6 per cent month-over-month decline.

The national average price for a home sold last month was $454,342, up 12.0 per cent from a year ago, boosted by gains in the Vancouver and Toronto regions.

Excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, the average price was $336,994, up 5.4 per cent from a year ago.

Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, says thatwith the possibility of a further interest rate cut from the Bank of Canada on the horizon, the redhot real estate markets in Vancouver and Toronto are unlikely to see a significant pullback.

However, price gains in those markets could be ‟less frothy,” Guatieri said in a note to clients.

‟The pain in the oil-producing regions will persist, if not intensify, until oil prices show a pulse.” TD economist Diana Petramala said home sales could spike inJanuary as buyers look to preempt changes from Ottawa requiring higher down payments for homes worth between $500,000 and $1 million, which will take effect in mid-February.

Compared to the previous month, homes sales slipped in December by 0.6 per cent, the Canadian Real Estate Association said. Sales were down in Calgary and Edmonton as well as York Region and Hamilton-Burlington in Ontario.