Posted January 26, 2009
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New Home Sales

New home sales end year on sour note

TORONTO - New home sales in the Greater Toronto Area ended the year on a decidedly sour note, Leith Moore, Chair of the Building Industry & Land Development Association (BILD), said today in releasing the final statistics, compiled by RealNet Canada Inc., for 2008.

Total new home sales for 2008 came in at 27,947 units, split 55 per cent high-rise (condo suites and lofts), 45 per cent low-rise (single- and semi-detached, town-homes).

"The good news is that we recorded nearly 28,000 new homes sales in 2008. That's a solid base of pending housing starts which should keep trades and suppliers relatively busy in 2009," said Moore.

"The bad news is that sales were down 38 per cent (16,750 units) last year compared with 2007. Worse yet, fourth quarter sales were down 58 per cent while December sales came in at a paltry 451 units, down 77 per cent from December, 2007. This trend-line does not bode well for housing jobs and related spin-off benefits," Moore stated.

Moore noted that while homebuyers understand that home-buying is a safe long-term investment and that factor's such as interest rates and prices are solidly in their favour, they are being held back by uncertainty with respect to the overall economy.

"The pending federal budget is key to instilling confidence in the minds of skittish homebuyers," said Moore, adding that while fiscal stimulus is needed, government at all levels must also look at cutting the cost of doing business and reducing red tape.

"Now is not the time to be increasing costs such as development charges or any of the myriad taxes, fees and levies paid by the industry," Moore asserted, citing the recent provincial musings about harmonizing the GST and PST as an example.

© Copyright 2009/Exchange Morning Post/Exchange Business Communications Inc.
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