Canadian home sales climb in March

Wed, 04/15/2015 – 09:00

Ottawa, ON, April 15, 2015 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity was up on month-over-month basis in March 2015.

Highlights:

  • National home sales edged up 4.1% from February to March.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 9.5% above March 2014 levels.
  • The number of newly listed homes rose 1.8% from February to March.
  • The Canadian housing market remains balanced.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 4.95% year-over-year in March.
  • The national average sale price rose 9.4% on a year-over-year basis in March; excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, it increased by 2.4%.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations rose by 4.1 per cent in March 2015 compared to February.

March sales were up from the previous month in nearly two-thirds of all local markets, led by Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Calgary and Edmonton. Despite the monthly rebound, Calgary and Edmonton sales came in below the 10 year average for the month of March.

“Low mortgage interest rates are good news for affordability as we head into the spring home buying season,” said CREA President Pauline Aunger. “This spring should see buyers coming off the sidelines in places where winter was anything but mild. Like the weather, all real estate is local and nobody knows your real estate market better than REALTORS®, who remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you currently live or might like to in the future.”

“Greater Vancouver and the GTA are really the only two hot spots for home sales and prices in Canada,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Price gains in these two markets are being fuelled by a shortage of single family homes for sale in the face of strong demand. Meanwhile, supply and demand for homes is well balanced among the vast majority of housing markets elsewhere across Canada.”

Year-over-year price gains for single family homes in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto have exceeded those in other housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI throughout the first quarter of 2015 (Chart A).

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in March stood 9.5 per cent above levels reported in March 2014 and slightly above the 10 year average for the month. March sales failed to lift activity recorded during the first quarter above its 10 year average. First quarter sales were below their 10 year average in most local housing markets.

The number of newly listed homes rose 1.8 per cent in March compared to February. The rebound in Greater Toronto more than offset the continuing pullback of new supply in Calgary, where it had climbed sharply toward the end of last year but now stands at a multi-year low.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 53.9 per cent in March, up from 52.7 per cent in February and 50.4 per cent in January.

A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 per cent is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings above and below this range indicating sellers’ and buyers’ markets respectively. The ratio was within this range in about 60 per cent of all local housing markets in March.

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

There were 6.1 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of February 2015, down from 6.3 months in February and 6.5 months in January. While both the sales-to-new listings ratio and months of inventory measures have tightened at the national level in the past few months, they remain firmly entrenched in balanced market territory. Moreover, both measures of housing market balance indicate that upward pressure on selling prices is subsiding in an increasing number of local markets.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 4.95 per cent on a year-over-year basis in March. This marks the first year-over-year increase of less than 5% since last May and its smallest gain since January 2014 (Chart B).

Year-over-year price growth decelerated in March for apartment units, while accelerating slightly for other Aggregate Benchmark housing types tracked by the index.

Single family home sales continue to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+5.83 per cent), led by two-storey single family homes (+6.66 per cent). By comparison, the rise in selling prices was more modest for townhouse/row units (+4.55 per cent), one-storey single family homes (+4.41 per cent) and apartment units (+2.36 per cent).

Price gains varied among housing markets tracked by the index. Greater Toronto (+7.85 per cent) and Greater Vancouver (+7.19 per cent) posted the biggest year-over-year increases. This was followed by Calgary at 4.13 per cent, which was a markedly smaller gain compared to those posted last year and the smallest since August 2012.

In other markets tracked by the index, prices were up compared to year-ago levels by between two-and-a-half and three per cent in Fraser Valley, Victoria, and Vancouver Island, while remaining little changed in Saskatoon, Ottawa, and Greater Moncton. Prices also ticked up by half of one per cent in Greater Montreal, while falling four per cent in Regina (Table 1).

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends than is possible using averages because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in March 2015 was $439,144, up 9.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis.

The national average home price is being increasingly skewed by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the calculation, the average price is a relatively more modest $332,711 and the year-over-year gain shrinks to just 2.4 per cent.

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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 109,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

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

Canadian home sales edge up in February

Fri, 03/13/2015 – 09:00

Ottawa, ON, March 13, 2015– According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity edged up slightly on month-over-month basis in February 2015.

Ottawa, ON, March 13, 2015– According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity edged up slightly on month-over-month basis in February 2015.

Highlights:

  • National home sales edged up 1.0% from January to February.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 2.7% above February 2014 levels.
  • The number of newly listed homes fell 2.5% from January to February.
  • The Canadian housing market remains balanced.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.01% year-over-year in February.
  • The national average sale price rose 6.3% on a year-over-year basis in February.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate

Boards and Associations rose by one per cent in February 2015 compared to January.

The monthly increase was led by Greater Vancouver, the Okanagan region, and Greater Toronto. Gains there offset sales declines elsewhere, with more than half of all local markets having posted weaker sales in February compared to January.

“A number of buyers across the Prairies stayed on the sidelines in February,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie. “That’s likely to remain an important part of the national housing story until the outlook for oil prices starts improving. Meanwhile, home sales in British Columbia and much of Ontario are improving, which underscores the fact that all real estate is local. Nobody knows this better than your local REALTOR®, who remains your best source for information about the housing market where you currently live or might like to in the future.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in February stood 2.7 per cent above levels reported in the same month last year, but remained five per cent below the 10-year average for the month of February.

“Sales came in below the ten-year average for the month of February in two-thirds of all local markets,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “That said, the opposite was true in a few large urban markets in British Columbia and Ontario despite a shortage of listings there, which is fuelling prices higher.”

The number of newly listed homes fell 2.5 per cent in February compared to January, led by Greater Vancouver, the Okanagan region, and Calgary. New listings in Calgary have retreated in recent months after having climbed sharply toward the end of last year.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 52.2 per cent in February. With sales up and new listings down, this marked an increase from 50.4 per cent in January.

A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 per cent is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings above and below this range indicating sellers’ and buyers’ markets respectively. The ratio was within this range in more than half of all local markets in February.

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

There were 6.4 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of February 2015, down from 6.5 months in January. Both the sales-to-new listings ratio and months of inventory measures continue to point to a balanced market at the national level.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 5.01 per cent on a year-over-year basis in February. Price gains have held steady between five and five-and-a-half per cent for more than a year.

Year-over-year price growth decelerated in February for all Aggregate Benchmark housing types tracked by the index except two-storey single family homes, which again posted the biggest year-over-year price gain (+6.63 per cent).

This was followed by townhouse/row units (+4.44 per cent) and one-storey single family homes (+4.34 per cent). Price growth remained more modest for apartment units (+2.77 per cent).

Price gains varied among housing markets tracked by the index. Greater Toronto (+7.84 per cent), Greater Vancouver (+6.38 per cent) and Calgary (+5.96 per cent) posted the biggest year-over-year increases. Even so, the increase in Calgary was far smaller than gains posted last year and the smallest since December 2012.

In other markets from West to East, prices were up compared to year-ago levels by between two and two-and-a-half per cent in the Fraser Valley, Victoria, and Vancouver Island, while holding steady in Saskatoon, Ottawa, and Greater Montreal, and falling in Regina and Greater Moncton.

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends than is possible using averages because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in February 2015 was $431,812, up 6.3 per cent on a year-over-year basis.

The national average home price remains skewed by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the calculation, the average price is a relatively more modest $326,910 and the year-over-year gain shrinks to just 1.5 per cent.

CREA Updates and Extends Resale Housing Forecast

Fri, 03/13/2015 – 08:58

Ottawa, ON, March 13, 2015 – The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations for 2015 and extended it to 2016.

The further decline in oil prices since CREA’s last forecast has shaken consumer confidence in the Prairies, pushing potential homebuyers to the sidelines and prompting more homeowners to put their home on the market. This has led to a rapid shift in market balance in Alberta, and to a lesser extent, Saskatchewan. Annual sales in these provinces are expected to come in well below elevated levels posted last year, with small declines in average residential prices in 2015.

Additionally, the Canadian dollar has weakened further against the U.S. dollar, mortgage rates have declined and the U.S. economy has strengthened since CREA’s last forecast, which taken together are expected to benefit economic and job growth in other provinces. Accordingly, CREA has upwardly revised its forecast for sales activity for much of the rest of the country.

The balance between supply and demand continues to tighten in British Columbia and Ontario. These are the only two provinces where tight supply relative to demand is expected to result in average price gains that surpass inflation this year.

By contrast, average prices in Quebec and the Atlantic region are expected to remain relatively stable, as sales deplete elevated levels of supply.

On balance, the forecast for national sales has been revised lower, reflecting downward revisions to the outlook for sales in Alberta. National sales are now projected to reach 475,700 units in 2015, representing an annual decline of 1.1 per cent. This would place annual activity slightly above but still broadly in line with its 10-year average (Chart A).

British Columbia is projected to post the largest annual increase in activity in 2015 (+4.9 per cent) followed closely by Nova Scotia (+3.7 per cent), Quebec (+2.5 per cent), New Brunswick (+2.5 per cent), Ontario (+1.9 per cent), and Prince Edward Island (+1.4 per cent). These numbers represent upward revisions to CREA’s previous forecast.

Alberta is expected to post the largest annual decline in sales this year (-19.2 per cent), though the trend for activity is expected to begin recovering from a weak start to the year as consumer confidence recovers. Sales are also forecast to decline on an annual basis in Saskatchewan (-11.2 per cent), and Manitoba (-2.2 per cent).

The national average home price is now forecast to rise by two per cent to $416,200 in 2015. Only British Columbia (+3.4 per cent) and Ontario (+2.5 per cent) are forecast to see gains in excess of the national increase.

Prices are projected to remain largely stable elsewhere, with increases or decreases of around one per cent or less this year. The exception is Alberta, where average price is forecast to fall by 3.4 per cent, reflecting a pullback in sales for luxury properties compared to homes in more affordable price segments.

In 2016, national sales activity is forecast to reach 482,700 units, representing an annual increase of 1.7 per cent. Much of the annual increase reflects an anticipated recovery for sales activity in Alberta and Saskatchewan in line with expected economic improvement in those provinces.

Strengthening economic prospects are expected to result in improving sales activity in other provinces where sales have struggled, keeping prices more affordable amid ample supply. Meanwhile, anticipated mortgage rate increases are expected to keep activity in check in markets where homes are already less affordable and prices have continued rising.

The national average price is forecast to rise by a further 1.9 per cent to $424,100 in 2016. Given an ongoing shortage of supply for single family homes in and around the Greater Toronto Area, price growth in 2016 is forecast to be strongest in Ontario (+2.5 per cent) and Alberta (+2.4 per cent).

Gains of around two per cent are forecast for British Columbia and Manitoba, and around one per cent for Saskatchewan and Quebec. Average home price in the Atlantic region is forecast to hold steady in 2016.

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About The Canadian Real Estate Association
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada's largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 109,000 real estate Brokers/agents and salespeople working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

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

 

Bank of Canada keeps rates on hold

Thu, 03/05/2015

The Bank of Canada announced on March 4th, 2015 it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 0.75 per cent. Six weeks earlier, the Bank surprised markets by cutting the rate by a quarter of a percentage point as insurance against economic damage from the drop in oil prices.

The Bank of Canada announced on March 4th, 2015 it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 0.75 per cent. Six weeks earlier, the Bank surprised markets by cutting the rate by a quarter of a percentage point as insurance against economic damage from the drop in oil prices.

In its March announcement, the Bank was upbeat about recent and further expected strength from exports and investment. Only time will tell to what extent these factors offset economic fallout from lower oil prices, so speculation remains as to whether the Bank will cut interest rates again later this year.

As of March 4th, 2015, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 4.74 per cent, down 0.05 percentage points from the previous Bank rate announcement on January 21st, and down 0.25 percentage points from one year ago.

The Bank’s next interest rate announcement is on April 15th, when it also releases its updated economic forecast. At that time and barring some unforeseeable economic calamity, it will keep rates steady rather than cutting them further.

(CREA 03/04/2015)