By Alexandre Deslongchamps Bloomereng
Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) — Canadian home resales rose to a record 46,450 units in November, as the housing market helped to pull the economy out of recession, a realtor group said.
Seasonally adjusted sales in November climbed 67 percent from a year earlier, the Canadian Real Estate Association said in a statement.
“The Canadian housing market remains on fire as the combination of low mortgage rates and still favorable buying conditions continues to spur buying activity,” Millan Mulraine, an economist with TD Securities in Toronto, said in a note to clients.
The Bank of Canada has predicted growth in housing investment will stay “brisk until early 2010,” and then slow as pent-up demand is satisfied and affordability declines. The bank lowered its benchmark lending rate to a record 0.25 percent in April to spur domestic demand and pledged to leave it there through June unless the inflation outlook changes.
Canada’s five-year mortgage rate was 5.84 percent for most of November and fell to 5.59 percent by the end of the month, near the 58-year low of 5.25 percent set in April, according to Bank of Canada data.
The rebound has prompted some analysts, including Gluskin Sheff & Associates Inc.’s David A. Rosenberg, to question whether a bubble is forming in the housing market.
‘Next Closest Thing’
“Housing values are anywhere between 15 percent and 35 percent above levels we would label as being consistent with the fundamentals,” Rosenberg said in a report before today’s report. “If being 15 percent to 35 percent overvalued isn’t a bubble, then it’s the next closest thing.”
The average nationwide price rose 19 percent from last year to C$337,231 ($317,700), the association said in the statement. Seasonally adjusted listings fell 4.8 percent to 79,953 in November from a year ago.
Without adjusting for seasonality, home sales rose to 36,383 units in November, up 73 percent from a year earlier, CREA said.
“The rebound in resale housing activity led the overall Canadian economy out of recession,” CREA President Dale Ripplinger said in the statement.