Consumer confidence up as key cities post gains

by Olivia D'Orazio23 Mar 2015
Agents struggling to convert weary buyers got some help this week as the Canadian Consumer Index rose again – its third consecutive gain.

The index, which measures consumer confidence across the country, rose to 55.02 this week, from 54.56 last week, as major Canadian markets like Toronto and Vancouver, report continued sales and price growth.

In Toronto, average sale prices during the first two weeks of March rose 10.6 per cent year-over-year to $620,106. Sales during the same period were also up, increasing 11.8 per cent to 3,838 transactions.

"Strong year-over-year growth in home sales continued during the first half of March for most home types in the GTA, both in the City of Toronto and the surrounding regions," said TREB president Paul Etherington.

"This suggests that households continue to view the purchase of a home as a quality long-term investment. But for a lack of low-rise listings in some neighbourhoods, it is quite possible that the number of sales could have been higher."

Similar speculation around sale prices – which many analysts expect to continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate – also created confidence in the market. That news carried the rise from the index’s 21-month low of 53.6, which was reached in February as the price of crude continued to drop off.

The index was also higher in Canada’s Prairie provinces, which have been facing the brunt of the economic blow from lower oil prices. Still, those oil-producing regions have stunted the national index.

“The drop in Canadian consumer confidence over the past year continues to be driven by the energy – rich Prairie provinces,” said Nik Nanos, the chairman for Nanos Research Group, which compiles the data for the index. “Consumer confidence in the Prairies is currently 10 points lower than a year ago.”

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