Bloomberg News

Canada September Home Sales May Have Fallen, Data Show

October 06, 2011

(Updates with August building permits in sixth paragraph.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian home sales may have fallen in September from August as home buyers in British Columbia and Alberta slow purchases, regional housing data show.

September sales reported by nine major regional real estate boards show a 4.3 percent decline from August, while last year, sales at the same boards rose 1.1 percent on the month. From a year earlier, September sales in those markets were up 15 percent, down from a 21 percent increase recorded in August.

A surge in household debt prompted Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to tighten mortgage rules earlier this year. Household debt as a share of personal disposable income rose to a record 150.8 percent at the end of June from 149.5 percent in the previous quarter, according to Statistics Canada data.

Canadian policy makers may need to consider additional measures to slow the country’s housing market if households continue to take on more debt, the International Monetary Fund said in a report.

Flaherty said yesterday he would consider further actions if there was “clear evidence of a bubble in the housing market in Canada, which we have not seen.”

British Columbia, Alberta

Homes sales in British Columbia’s three biggest markets -- Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Victoria -- fell 9.2 percent in September, data from regional real estate boards show. They had increased 1 percent in September last year. Sales in Calgary and Edmonton fell 7.6 percent in September. Those two markets had recorded gains of 2.2 percent in September last year.

Sales in Toronto, Canada’s biggest market, bucked the trend, recording a 1.5 percent increase in September.

In a separate report today, Statistics Canada said the value of municipal building permits fell 10.4 percent in August, a drop that was larger than any of the 12 responses to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The Canadian Real Estate Association releases aggregated national data in the middle of every month.

--Editors: Paul Badertscher, Carlos Torres

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To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net; David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net.


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