Recent statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that home sales rose in half of all local housing markets during the month of April, with the most dramatic increases in activity coming from Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto. Ottawa, Montreal and rural and suburban areas of Quebec showed less residential sales activity, however.
While April’s activity was slightly lower than the same month last year, national home sales increased 2.7 percent from March to April, continuing growth from earlier this year, while the number of newly listed home increased 2.9 percent month over month. Canada’s residential sales activity is now roughly halfway between the market’s peak of activity in August 2013 and the slowdown in the second half of 2012 triggered by changes to mortgage rules.
While the nationwide months of inventory have decreased slightly (6.3 months at the end of April 2014 compared to 6.4 at the end of February and 6.5 at the end of January), CREA believes Canada’s real estate market is still balanced between supply and demand. Months of inventory indicates the amount of time it would take to sell all of the current properties on the market at the current rate of transactions. A small number typically means that there may be too many buyers and not enough available inventory, while a high number could show that the market has too many sellers and not enough buyers to buy properties.
It’s also worth noting that national average prices (actual, not seasonally adjusted) for homes sold also increased 7.6 percent from April of last year to $409,708 in April 2014. The nation’s largest price gains were in Calgary (9.52 percent), Greater Toronto (7.01 percent) and Greater Vancouver (3.64 percent). However, taking Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, two of Canada’s priciest housing markets, out of the equation reduces the year-over-year increase to 4.8 percent. As of January 2014, Greater Toronto’s composite house price was around $500,000, while Greater Vancouver’s was over $600,000, according to the MLS® Home Price Index benchmark.
CREA’s data also shows that price gains were led by one and two storey single-family homes, which increased by 5.35 and 5.84 percent, respectively. Price gains for townhouse, row units and apartment units were a bit slower paced.