Condos shoot high above one of Vancouver's most prestigious residential areas, Yaletown.

Vancouver, Toronto housing sales soar in August

Greater Vancouver saw a 52.5% jump in sales in August, 2013, compared to one year earlier. Toronto rose 21%.

So much has been made of Vancouver’s impending real estate bubble, you’d almost believe it was real – and it perhaps is.

Still, it’s been as waited on as the big one (what we British Columbians call that earthquake that’s going to hit us and destroy everything we own) and the housing market has been stalling.

But, on Thursday, the Huffington Post reported that Canada’s housing market – including British Columbia’s – was “seriously back”.

The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board reported a 52.5 per cent jump in sales on the Multiple Listing Service in August, 2013, compared to August, 2012. Total sales in August amounted to 2,514.

(The Board noted the month was still 4.6 per cent below August’s 10-year average.)

Sales in July were even higher, hitting 2,946 (14.7 per cent higher than August’s).

Housing prices in Vancouver dropped 1.3 per cent from August, 2012, although they’re up 2.3 per cent from January 1, 2013.

Toronto’s real estate board reported similar peaks in August, with a 21 per cent jump from that same month in 2012. The Ontario capital’s average home price also rose 4.4 per cent to $518,145, compared to August, 2012.

“After last year’s plunge in response to tighter mortgage rules, home sales have stabilized near normal levels and prices are rising moderately in most regions – a near perfect soft landing with shades of taking flight again,” said Bank of Montreal’s Sal Guatieri (Globe and Mail).

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Just one day earlier, The Economist had called Canada’s housing market “bubbly” – which isn’t a complement – and found the country’s housing prices to be entirely “overvalued”.

The magazine said Canada’s home prices were 30 per cent overvalued compared to incomes, and a whopping 74 per cent overvalued compared to rentals.

In the top 11 countries/city states profiled, only Hong Kong had a more overvalued housing-to-rental margin, at 84 per cent. New Zealand’s came in just ahead (or behind?) Canada at 68 per cent.

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