Canada Housing Conditions on Edge Before Ontario Intervention

By Paul Vieira Features Dow Jones Newswires

Canada's housing agency said the real-estate market was showing "strong evidence" of problematic conditions before authorities introduced a series of measures in April that triggered a slowdown in sales and price appreciation, especially in the Toronto region.

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Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., in its quarterly housing-market assessment released Wednesday, said slowing population and wage growth couldn't justify the steep growth in house prices in pockets of the country, most notably the Toronto area.

The assessment incorporated housing data up until March 31, when house prices in Toronto and its exurbs were climbing upward of 30%--and in some instances, above 40%--on a one-year basis.

In April, the province of Ontario, Canada's largest province, issued a series of measures to cool housing, most notably a tax on foreign-led house buyers. Since then, national resale figures have declined for three straight months, led by a marked slowdown in Toronto.

Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC, said upward pressure on sales and prices in the Toronto market could resume in short order, as the supply of units remains limited and the local economy continues to exhibit strength. He didn't elaborate on the overall impact the Ontario policies could have on national housing.

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 26, 2017 14:08 ET (18:08 GMT)