OTTAWA, March 3 Toronto home prices surged 23.8
percent in February from a year earlier due in part to fewer
listings, according to a report that is likely to add to
concerns that a bubble is developing in the Canadian city's
The Toronto Real Estate Board said on Friday that prices
accelerated across dwelling types, but particularly for
single-family detached homes, which racked up a 26.3 percent
Sales of existing homes in the Toronto area rose 5.7 percent
to 8,014 units. Sales of condominiums jumped 15.9 percent, while
detached homes climbed 3.0 percent.
Despite the strong demand, total new listings tumbled 12.5
percent to 9,834.
Jason Mercer, the real estate board's director of market
analysis, said the supply crunch in the city was contributing to
the double-digit price increases.
"Until we see a marked increase in the number of homes
available for sale, expect very strong annual rates of price
growth to continue," Mercer said.
Although the federal government has taken a number of steps
in recent years to try to cool the country's robust housing
market, prices in Toronto have continued to soar, and some
economists now say a bubble is forming.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau has repeatedly said the
government is keeping an eye on the market, and a recent Reuters
poll showed rising prices are likely to pressure policymakers to
take further action.
The lofty Vancouver market, on the other hand, appears to
have come off the boil. Separate data on Thursday showed home
sales there surged in February from January but were sharply
lower than a year earlier.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)