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Canadian home prices plateau: CREA

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The hot Canadian housing market may be showing signs of cooling.

Seasonally adjusted data from the Canadian Real Estate Association shows the national average home price in November was flat at $363,536 compared to the previous month. Compared to a year earlier, home prices have risen 4.6 percent, CREA said.

Sales activity in November rose 0.5 percent on seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month. This is the third consecutive month that sales activity has increased.

Housing activity in the country's largest city, Toronto, declined by 3.3 percent.

CREA also said the country is edging closer to a "seller's market", with the national sales-to-new listings ratio moving up to 55.5 percent in November, from 53.4 percent in October.

And while many analysts have raised concerns about the high levels of household debt, they say the housing market remains attractive to consumers.

“Despite numerous headwinds -- slower job growth, softer consumer confidence, tighter mortgage rules, elevated household debt and high valuations -- buyers simply couldn’t resist the lure of cheap borrowing costs -- especially given the benign rate outlook,” Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist at BMO Financial Group, said in a note to clients.

But, she says, “a period of price moderation would allow incomes to catch up to higher valuations before interest rates normalize in 2 or 3 years time, reducing the market’s vulnerability to a shock.”
 

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