Vancouver housing prices jump over 30%; Toronto also sees spike

Benchmark home prices across B.C.'s Lower Mainland jumped nearly 20 per cent in January compared to Jan. 2015. Credit/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Home prices are posting eye-popping jumps across much of British Columbia’s housing market, where prices have surged in some cases by more than 30 per cent over the past 12 months alone.

New data released by the country’s real estate association on Tuesday shows average property values on resold homes in the Greater Vancouver area rising by 30.9 per cent in January compared to the same month a year ago.

“Hot doesn’t quite describe Vancouver’s three-alarm fire of a housing market,” Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter said.

MORE: $2.4 million ‘knockdown’ in Vancouver sells above asking price

But the sentiment could apply to much of B.C.’s property market. In the neighbouring Fraser Valley, where buyers who are priced out of sky-high Vancouver are turning to, average prices still popped 27.5 per cent last month.

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All told, benchmark home prices in B.C.’s Lower Mainland are up nearly 20 per cent year-on-year, to $681,500 the data shows, fueled by rock-bottom mortgage rates and ample interest from foreign buyers, experts say.

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Tighter mortgage rules coming into force this week which require bigger down payments on properties over half a million dollars also likely pulled sales forward.

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Inflating suburbs

Property values continue to rise strongly in the country’s other red-hot housing market. Average prices in the Greater Toronto Area jumped another 14.2 per cent in January to $631,092. Prices in surrounding regions posted bigger jumps as well, rising 8 per cent and 8.9 per cent in the Hamilton and Waterloo areas, respectively.

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Inflating prices across the B.C.’s Lower Mainland and southern Ontario sent the national average price soaring 17 per cent, the Canadian Real Estate Association, said.

MORE: Burbs around Vancouver, Toronto no bargain for house hunters either

Excluding Vancouver and Toronto, the average price gain was a much tamer 8 per cent. “Even then, the gain reflects a tug of war between strong average price gains in housing markets around the GTA and Lower Mainland B.C. versus flat or declining average prices elsewhere,” CREA said.

Housing markets affected by the resource slump meanwhile, like Calgary and other Prairie centres as well pockets in Atlantic Canada, are feeling the strain with prices and sales under pressure.

Excluding Ontario and B.C., average prices across Canada were actually down 0.3 per cent in January, to $286,911.


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