* Toronto August home sales up 23.5 pct vs year ago - data
* Vancouver sales fell 26 pct over same period
* RBC CEO 'more comfortable' about Toronto than Vancouver
(Adds comment from RBC chief executive officer)
By Matt Scuffham
TORONTO, Sept 7 Home sales in Toronto increased
by 23.5 percent in August from a year earlier, the Toronto Real
Estate Board said, contrasting sharply with a decline in
Vancouver where a tax on foreign buyers was introduced.
The TREB, which represents 45,000 real estate brokers in
Greater Toronto, said on Wednesday a record 9,813 sales were
reported in August 2016. Home sales in Vancouver fell 26 percent
over the same period, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
said earlier this month.
"The conditions underlying strong demand for ownership
housing (in Toronto) remained in place, including a relatively
strong regional economy, growth in average earnings and low
borrowing costs," said Jason Mercer, TREB's director of market
Housing markets in Vancouver and Toronto have seen rapid
price increases, fueled by foreign investment and a sustained
period of low borrowing costs since the 2007-2009 financial
crisis, stirring concern among lawmakers and regulators of
potential speculative bubbles in these cities.
Speaking at the Scotiabank Financials Summit in Toronto on
Wednesday, Royal Bank of Canada Chief Executive Dave
McKay said the bank was more confident about the Toronto market
"We're still gaining market share in mortgages but not in
Vancouver," he said. "That's a conscious choice we've made."
"We certainly feel much more comfortable about Toronto given
the diversity of the economy and the number of new immigrants
coming in," McKay added. "I think it's a more stable market to
invest in right now."
British Columbia introduced a 15 percent tax on foreign real
estate buyers in Vancouver in late July, a measure geared at
increasing housing affordability for local residents.
The influx of foreign home buyers to Vancouver, mostly from
mainland China, has helped make it Canada's most expensive
Some industry experts have said the tax could steer foreign
buyers towards Toronto instead.
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham Editing by W Simon)