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Canadian home sales drop sharply in February 2019

Canadian home sales drop sharply in February 2019

Ottawa, ON, March 15, 2019 – Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales dropped sharply from January to February 2019.

Highlights:

  • National home sales plummeted 9.1% month-over-month (m-o-m) in February.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 4.4% year-over-year (y-o-y).
  • The number of newly listed homes fell 3.2% m-o-m.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) was virtually unchanged (-0.1% y-o-y).
  • The national average sale price fell by 5.2% y-o-y.

Home sales via Canadian MLS® Systems plunged 9.1% m-o-m in February 2019 to the lowest level since November 2012. The month-over-month decline was the largest recorded since the B-20 stress test came into effect in January of last year. (Chart A)

The number of homes trading hands was down from the previous month in three-quarters of all local markets, including all major cities.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was down 4.4% to reach the lowest level for month of February since 2009. It was also almost 12% below the 10-year February average. In British Columbia, Alberta as well as Newfoundland and Labrador, sales were more than 20% below their 10-year average for the month.

“For aspiring homebuyers being kept on the sidelines by the mortgage stress-test, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when policy makers say the policy is working as intended,” said Barb Sukkau. “Fewer qualified buyers means sellers are affected too. The impact of tighter mortgage regulations differs by local housing market and a professional REALTOR® remains your best source for information and guidance in negotiating the purchase or sale of a home during these changing times,” added Sukkau.

“February home sales declined across a broad swath of large and smaller Canadian cities,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “The housing sector is on track to further reduce waning Canadian economic growth. Only time will tell whether successive changes to mortgage regulations went too far, since the impact of policy decisions becomes apparent only well after the fact. Hopefully policy makers are thinking about how to fine tune regulations to better keep housing affordability within reach while keeping lending risks in check.”

The number of newly listed homes declined by 3.2% in February, led by GTA regional municipalities that surround the City of Toronto, in addition to Hamilton-Burlington, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

With sales down by more than new listings in February, the national sales-to-new listings ratio eased to 54.1% compared to 57.6% in January. Looking beyond its monthly volatility, this measure of market balance has remained close to the long-term average of 53.5% since early 2018.

Considering the degree and duration to which market balance readings are above or below their long-term averages is the best way of gauging whether local housing market conditions favour buyers or sellers. Market balance measures that are within one standard deviation of their long-term average are generally consistent with balanced market conditions.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, about 70% of all local markets were in balanced market territory in February 2019.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between sales and the supply of listings. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 5.7 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of February 2019, a three-and-a-half-year high and a little above its long-term average of 5.3 months. That said, there are significant regional differences. The number of months of inventory has swollen far above its long-term average in Prairie provinces and Newfoundland & Labrador; as a result, homebuyers there have an ample choice of listings available for purchase. By contrast, the measure remains well below its long-term average in Ontario and the Maritimes.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) was little changed (-0.1%) y-o-y in February 2019. That said, it still marked the first decline in almost a decade (Chart B).

Apartment units recorded a y-o-y price increase of 2.4% in February, while townhouse/row unit prices were up 1%. By comparison, one and two-storey single-family home prices were down 1.7% and 1% y-o-y in February.

Trends continue to vary widely among the 17 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI. Results remain mixed in British Columbia, with prices down on a y-o-y basis in Greater Vancouver (-6.1%) and the Fraser Valley (-2.8%). By contrast, prices posted a y-o-y increase of 3% in Victoria and were up 7.7% elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

Among Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets tracked by the index, MLS® HPI benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in Guelph (+6.8%), the Niagara Region (+6.5%), Hamilton-Burlington (+5%) and the GTA (+2.3%). By contrast, home prices were little changed (+0.2%) on a y-o-y basis in Oakville-Milton, while in Barrie and District prices remain below year-ago levels (-4.3%).

Across the Prairies, supply is historically elevated relative to sales and home prices are down from year-ago levels. Benchmark prices were down by 4.4% in Calgary, 4.5% in Edmonton, 5.1% in Regina and 3% in Saskatoon. The home pricing environment will likely remain weak in these cities until demand and supply come back into better balance.

Home prices rose 7.4% y-o-y in Ottawa (led by a 10.8% increase in townhouse/row unit prices), 6.2% in Greater Montreal (led by a 7.8% increase in apartment unit prices) and 1.6% in Greater Moncton (led by a 7.9% increase in townhouse/row unit prices). (Table 1)

The MLS® HPI provides the best way to gauge price trends, as averages are strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in February 2019 was $468,350, down 5.2% from the same month in 2018.

The national average price is heavily skewed by sales in Greater Vancouver and the GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations cuts close to $100,000 from the national average price, trimming it to just under $371,000.

– 30 –

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month. 

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types. 

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale. 

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 125,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found at http://crea.ca/statistics.

For more information, please contact:

Pierre Leduc, Media Relations
The Canadian Real Estate Association
Tel.: 613-237-7111 or 613-884-1460
E-mail: pleduc@crea.ca




Canadian home sales improve in January 2019

Canadian home sales improve in January 2019

Ottawa, ON, February 15, 2019 – Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales in January 2019 were up from the previous month but remained below levels recorded one year ago.

Highlights:

  • National home sales rose 3.6% between December 2018 and January 2019.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down by 4% from one year ago.
  • The number of newly listed homes edged up 1% month-over-month in January.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 0.8% year-over-year (y-o-y) in January.
  • The national average sale price fell by 5.5% y-o-y in January.

Home sales via Canadian MLS® Systems climbed 3.6% in January 2019 compared to December 2018 (Chart A). The number of homes trading hands was up from the previous month in half of all local markets, led by Montreal, Ottawa and Winnipeg.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) were down 4% from year-ago levels and turned in the weakest January since 2015. They also came in below the 10-year average for the month on a national basis and in Canada’s three westernmost provinces, Ontario and Newfoundland & Labrador.

“Homebuyers are still adapting to tightened mortgage regulations brought in last year, “said CREA President Barb Sukkau. “However, their impact on homebuyers varies by location, housing type and price segment. All real estate is local. A professional REALTOR® remains your best source for information and guidance in negotiating the purchase or sale of a home during these changing times,” added Sukkau.

“Sales, market balance and home price trends are out of synch among major Canadian cities that have the greatest impact on national results,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “It’s clear that housing market conditions remain weaker in the Prairie region and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Notwithstanding the intended consequences, tighter mortgage regulations that took effect in 2018 combined with previous tightening will weigh on economic growth this year.”

The number of newly listed homes edged up 1% in January, led by a jump in new supply in Greater Vancouver and Hamilton-Burlington.

With sales up by more than new listings, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 56.7% compared to 55.3% posted in December. This measure of market balance has remained close to its long-term average of 53.5% for the last year.

Considering the degree and duration to which market balance readings are above or below their long-term averages is the best way of gauging whether local housing market conditions favour buyers or sellers. Market balance measures that are within one standard deviation of their long-term average are generally consistent with balanced market conditions.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, more than half of all local markets were in balanced market territory in January 2019.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure for the balance between sales and the supply of listings. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 5.3 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of January 2019, in line with its long-term average. That said, the well-balanced national reading masks significant regional differences. The number of months of inventory has swollen far above its long-term average in Prairie provinces and Newfoundland & Labrador; as a result, homebuyers there have an ample choice of listings available for purchase. By contrast, the measure remains well below its long-term average in Ontario and Prince Edward Island, consistent with seller’s market conditions. In other provinces, sales and inventory are more balanced.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) was up 0.8% y-o-y in January 2019 – the smallest increase since June 2018 (Chart B).

Apartment units recorded the largest y-o-y price increase in January (+3.3%), followed by townhouse/row units (+1.5%). By comparison, two-storey single-family home prices were little changed (+0.1%) while one-storey single-family home prices edged down (-1.1%).

Trends continue to vary widely among the 17 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI. Results were mixed in British Columbia. Prices were down on a y-o-y basis in Greater Vancouver (-4.5%) and the Fraser Valley (-0.8%). By contrast, prices posted a y-o-y increase of 4.2% in Victoria and were up 9.3% elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

Among Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets tracked by the index, MLS® HPI benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in Guelph (+7.2%), the Niagara Region (+7%), Hamilton-Burlington (+5%), Oakville-Milton (+3.9%) and the GTA (+2.7%). By contrast, home prices in Barrie and District remain below year-ago levels (-2.7%).

Across the Prairies, supply is historically elevated relative to sales, causing benchmark home prices to remain down from year-ago levels in Calgary (-3.9%), Edmonton (-2.9%), Regina (-3.8%) and Saskatoon (-2%). The home pricing environment will likely remain weak in these cities until elevated supply is reduced.

Home prices rose 7.1% y-o-y in Ottawa (led by a 9.5% increase in townhouse/row unit prices), 6.3% in Greater Montreal (led by a 9.2% increase in townhouse/row unit prices) and 1% in Greater Moncton (led by a 15.1% increase in townhouse/row unit prices). (Table 1)

The MLS® HPI provides the best way to gauge price trends, as averages are strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in January 2019 was

just under $455,000, down 5.5% from the same month in 2018 and marking the biggest year-over-year decline since May 2018.

The national average price is heavily skewed by sales in Greater Vancouver and the GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations cuts almost $95,000 from the national average price, trimming it to just over $360,000.

– 30 –

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month. 

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types. 

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale. 

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 125,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found at http://crea.ca/statistics.

For more information, please contact:

Pierre Leduc, Media Relations
The Canadian Real Estate Association
Tel.: 613-237-7111 or 613-884-1460
E-mail: pleduc@crea.ca




Canadian home sales fall further in December

Canadian home sales fall further in December

Ottawa, ON, January 15, 2019 – Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales posted a fourth-straight monthly decline in December 2018.

Highlights:

  • National home sales fell 2.5% from November to December.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down by 19% from one year ago.
  • The number of newly listed homes was little changed from November to December.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) was up 1.6% year-over-year (y-o-y) in December.
  • The national average sale price fell by 4.9% y-o-y in December.

Home sales via Canadian MLS® Systems fell by 2.5% in December 2018 compared to November, capping the weakest annual sales since 2012. Monthly declines in activity since September have fully retrenched its summer rally and returned it near the lowest level since early 2013.

Transactions declined in about 60% of all local markets in December, led by lower activity in Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Ottawa, London & St. Thomas, and Halifax-Dartmouth, together with a regionally diverse mix of other large and medium sized urban centres.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 19% y-o-y in December 2018 and stood almost 12% below the 10-year average for the month of December. Sales were down from year-ago levels in three-quarters of all local markets, led overwhelmingly by the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the Okanagan Region, Calgary, Edmonton, the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton-Burlington.

This decline, in part, is due to elevated activity posted in December 2017 as home buyers rushed to purchase in advance of the new federal mortgage stress test that came into effect on January 1, 2018.

“What a difference a year makes,” said CREA President Barb Sukkau. “Sales trends were pushed higher in December 2017 by home buyers rushing to purchase before the new federal mortgage stress-test took effect at the beginning of 2018. Since then, the stress-test has weighed on sales to varying degrees in all Canadian housing markets and it will continue to do so this year. All real estate is local. A professional REALTOR® remains your best source for information and guidance in negotiating the purchase or sale of a home during these changing times,” added Sukkau.

“The Bank of Canada recently said that it expects housing activity will stay ‘soft’ as households ‘adjust to the mortgage stress-test and increases in mortgage rates,’ even as jobs and incomes continue growing,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Indeed, the Bank’s economic forecast shows it expects housing will undermine economic growth this year as the mortgage stress test has pushed home ownership affordability out of reach for some home buyers,” he added.

The number of newly listed homes remained little changed (+0.2%) from November to December, with declines in close to half of all local markets offset by gains in the remainder.

With sales down and new listings steady in December, the national sales-to-new listings ratio eased to 53.3% compared to 54.8% in November. This measure of market balance has remained close to its long-term average of 53.5% since the beginning of 2018.

Considering the degree and duration to which market balance readings are above or below their long-term averages is the best way of gauging whether local housing market conditions favour buyers or sellers. Market balance measures that are within one standard deviation of their long-term average are generally consistent with balanced market conditions.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, about two-thirds of all local markets were in balanced market territory in December 2018.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure for the balance between sales and the supply of listings. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 5.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of December 2018. While this remains close to its long-term average of 5.3 months, the number of months of inventory has swollen far above its long-term average in Prairie provinces as well as in Newfoundland & Labrador. By contrast, the measure remains well below its long-term average in Ontario and Prince Edward Island. In other provinces, sales and inventory are more balanced.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) was up 1.6% y-o-y in December 2018. The increase is smaller but still broadly in line with y-o-y gains posted since July. (Chart B)

Apartment units posted the largest y-o-y price gains in December (+4.9%), followed by townhouse/row units (+3.1%). By comparison, two-storey single-family homes posted a small increase (+0.4%) while one-storey single-family home prices eased slightly (-0.3%).

Trends continue to vary widely among the 17 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI. Results were mixed in British Columbia. Prices are now down on a y-o-y basis in Greater Vancouver (-2.7%) but remain above year-ago levels in the Fraser Valley (+2.5%). Meanwhile, prices posted a y-o-y increase of 6.4% in Victoria and rose 11% elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

Among housing markets tracked by the index in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, MLS® HPI benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in Guelph (+6.8%), the Niagara Region (+6.8%), Hamilton-Burlington (+6.4%), Oakville-Milton (+3.3%) and the GTA (+3%). Home prices in Barrie and District remain slightly below year-ago levels (-1.1%).

Across the Prairies where supply is historically elevated relative to sales, benchmark home prices remained below year-ago levels in Calgary (-3.2%), Edmonton (-2%), Regina (-5.2%) and Saskatoon (-1.2%). The home pricing environment is likely to remain weak in these housing markets until elevated supply is reduced and becomes more balanced in relation to demand.

Home prices rose 6.9% y-o-y in Ottawa (led by an 8.3% increase in townhouse/row unit prices), 6% in Greater Montreal (led by a 9.1% increase in townhouse/row unit prices) and 2.5% in Greater Moncton (led by a 12.2% increase in townhouse/row unit prices). (Table 1)

The MLS® HPI provides the best way to gauge price trends because average price trends are strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in December 2018 was just over $472,000, down 4.9% from the same month in 2017. The y-o-y decline reflects how the jump in sales in December 2017 in advance of the stress test was more pronounced in more expensive markets.

The national average price is heavily skewed by sales in Greater Vancouver and the GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations cuts almost $100,000 from the national average price, trimming it to just under $375,000.

– 30 –

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month. 

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types. 

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale. 

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 125,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found at http://crea.ca/statistics.

For more information, please contact:

Pierre Leduc, Media Relations
The Canadian Real Estate Association
Tel.: 613-237-7111 or 613-884-1460
E-mail: pleduc@crea.ca