It’s as thick as the dictionary (well, not quite) but the 2011 Canadian Housing Observer is worth a perusal if you want to even get close to being in the real estate loop.

If you don’t have the time to read the whole thing, we can’t blame you — you’d probably rather read the Steve Jobs biography or Ernest Hemingway short story collection you got for Christmas.

That’s why we’re here! To tease out the important facts and present you a (very) truncated version of the annual housing review by the trusty Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. There’s quite a few notable chapters in this year’s report so we’re going to do a multiple part post, highlighting the key facts from chapters like Housing Finance, Household Indebtedness, Housing Markets, and Sustainable Housing and Communities.

First, let’s go through the choice cuts from the Housing Markets chapter:

  • Housing starts swung back up in nearly all provinces in 2010 after a downturn in 2009
  • 2010 began strongly but Canada-wide housing starts moderated in the second half of the year
  • BC had the largest gain in starts, increasing 65 per cent from 2009 levels to 26,479
  • Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan all exceeded their pre-recession 2008 level of starts
  • Over half of all housing starts in Vancouver, 48 per cent in Montréal and 45 per cent in Toronto were intended for condominium tenure (WOOOHOOO CONDOS!!)
  • Condos accounted for one-third of all starts in Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) in 2010
  • The average MLS price increased by 5.8 per cent in 2010 to $339,042
  • Resale house prices were up in all CMAs and growth was especially strong in St. John’s and Vancouver
  • Factors that led to the sales and price increases: 1) unwinding of pent-up demand for housing built up over the recession 2) solid economic fundamentals based on growth in employment, income and population 3) historically low interest rates

Tune in next week for more from this incredibly comprehensive document!

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