BMO Financial Group

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BMO Financial Group

April 03, 2013 16:42 ET

Toronto Housing Market Well-Balanced: BMO

- 17 per cent year-over-year drop matches average decline from August-February period

- Prices remain firm

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 3, 2013) - The March home sales figures for Toronto home sales are very much in line with the softer trend seen over the prior six months, according to BMO Economics.

"The 17 per cent year-over-year drop almost precisely matches the average 16 per cent decline seen in the August-February period," said Doug Porter, Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "While sales have no doubt cooled, the market is relatively well-balanced between buyers and sellers. Similarly, prices remain stable, with the increase in average prices of just under 4 per cent from year-ago levels almost identical to the trend of the previous six months."

Mr. Porter noted that sales have slowed considerably since last summer, both in Toronto and across most major Canadian cities. "Prices have also slowed notably, but in the majority of major markets - including Toronto - we continue to see modest increases."

Paul Maranger, Senior Vice-President, Sales, for Sotheby's International Realty Canada, said he was not surprised by the Toronto sales figures, and indicated that they reflect a lack of supply within Toronto city limits, rather than a shortage of demand - noting that prices continue to rise, albeit more slowly. "The marriage of persistently harsh winter weather and earlier-than-usual holidays may have delayed the buying season. I would not be surprised to see sales figures in the 416 climb again in April, May and June."

Laura Parsons, Mortgage Expert, BMO Bank of Montreal, noted that it's essential for both buyers and sellers to be aware of any changing conditions on the local level.

"If planning to buy or sell a property, consider working with an expert who can help you make decisions that are appropriate to the health of your local market, and more importantly, that responsibly fit within your particular financial situation," said Ms. Parsons.

Ms. Parsons added that home buyers should stress-test their mortgage against a higher interest rate to ensure they could handle any potential increases in interest rates down the road and choose a mortgage with a shorter amortization, which can help them become mortgage-free sooner.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at January 31, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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