Home sales bounce back in Toronto, Vancouver after shutdowns

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Canada's residential real estate market is bouncing back from coronavirus shutdowns.

Home sales and prices rose in Toronto in May from the near freeze-up of activity caused by the pandemic in early spring.

Sales in and around Toronto rose 53% from April on a seasonally adjusted basis as new listings surged almost 48% and the average price climbed 4.6%, according to Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. From a year ago, prices rose 3% in May to an average C$863,599 ($638,710) from a year ago, the data show.

"While the public health and economic concerns surrounding Covid-19 continue to impact the housing market, the May sales result represented a marked improvement over April," TRREB President Michael Collins said in a statement. "Providing we continue to see a gradual reopening of the economy, it is very possible that home sales will continue to improve in the coming months."

Greater Vancouver's real estate board reported on Tuesday that homes sales jumped an unadjusted 34% in May from April, with prices little changed on the month. The benchmark price rose 2.9% to C$1.03 million from a year ago.

The pandemic brought Canada's real estate industry to a virtual standstill from mid-March through the end of April as public health authorities restricted activity and open houses were curtailed.

The impacts of Covid-19 could still be seen in Greater Toronto in May. Sales fell almost 54% from a year ago. Still, that was an improvement from the 67% plunge in April from a year ago.

Benchmark home prices were unchanged from April to May on an unadjusted basis, at C$870,000, according to TRREB data. The average selling price of a detached home fell 0.9% to C$1.03 million from a year ago, while condos jumped 6% to C$625,445.

"The housing sector will be a key driver of growth as consumer confidence increases and more households look to take advantage of very low borrowing costs," TRREB Chief Executive Officer John DiMichele said in the statement.

Bloomberg News
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