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January 15, 2022

A tale of two real estate markets

In Canada, damn our winters, it’s always been tough to sell a home this time of year.

Not listing your house in the winter has even turned into a real estate rule of thumb. Traditionally, the market just dries up.

So you can imagine the surprise of many realtors today when news broke that Canada had its best-ever December for home sales. Best. Ever.

“Sales activity in 2009 came in like a lamb and went out like a lion,” Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) president Dale Ripplinger told the Star.

According to the CREA’s numbers, 27,744 existing homes were sold last month, up 72 per cent from December of 2008.

Not only was the average sale price up for December ($337,410, an increase of 19 per cent) versus last year’s stats, but for the whole year as well ($320,333, an increase of 7.7 per cent from ‘08).

So, what’s all this about?

For starters, economists warn the emerging market is “getting dangerously close to bubble territory,” according to the Star.

“Cooler heads recognize that many of the recent gains reflect temporary factors that could fade by summer,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump.

Still, though, listings in December were up 4.8 per cent from 2008 – the first year-over-year gain in 2009 – and the response from Canadian home buyers is tough to dispute.

This data is interesting, of course, because things aren’t quite the same south of the border.

While Canada’s real estate market shows signs of strength in the winter months, all accounts point to the opposite in the U.S.

The country’s Pending Home Sales Index plummeted 16 per cent in November, at least – a sign surely pointing to a further drop in December.

Check out the visually dramatic dip here.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...