According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the average sale price for an existing home in Canada rose 9.5 per cent, year-over-year, to $448,862 in April. Excluding the two major cities, Vancouver and Toronto, the increase was much more modest at 3.4 per cent to $339,893.
The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations rose 2.3 per cent in April 2015 compared to March. This marks the third consecutive month-over-month increase and raises national activity back to where it was during most of the second half of last year.
April sales were up from the previous month in two-thirds of all local markets, led by the Greater Toronto Area, the surrounding Golden Horseshoe region, and Montreal.
“In recent years, the seasonal pattern for home sales and listings has become amplified in places where listings are in short supply relative to demand,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “This particularly stands out in and around Toronto. Sellers there have increasingly delayed listing their home until spring. Once listed, it sells fairly quickly. Sales over the year as a whole in Southern Ontario are likely being constrained to some degree by a short supply of single family homes. However, the busy spring home buying and selling season has become that much busier as a result of sellers waiting until winter has faded before listing.”
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in April stood 10.0 per cent above levels reported in April 2014. This marks just the third time ever that sales during the month of April topped 50,000 transactions.
Sales were up on a year-over-year basis in about 70 per cent of all local markets, led by activity in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Greater Toronto, and Montreal. Of the 18 local markets that set new records for the month of April, all but two are in Southern Ontario.
The number of newly listed homes was virtually unchanged (+0.1 per cent) in April compared to March. Below the surface, new supply rose in almost two thirds of all local markets, led by a big rebound in Halifax-Dartmouth following a sharp drop in March. This was offset by declines in Greater Vancouver, Victoria, and the Okanagan Region, as well as by a continuing pullback in new supply in Calgary. New listings in Calgary have dropped by one-third from their multi-year high at the end of last year to their current multi-year low.
The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 55.3 per cent in April, up from 50.4 per cent three months earlier as the ratio has steadily risen along with sales so far this year.
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 the majority of local housing markets in April.
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 5.9 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of April 2015, down from 6.1 months in March and 6.5 months at the end of January when it reached the highest level in nearly two years. While the sales-to-new listings ratio and months of inventory measures of market balance indicate that the housing market has tightened on a national basis over the past few months, both measures remain firmly entrenched in balanced market territory.
The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 4.97 per cent on a year-over-year basis in April, on par with the 4.95 per cent year-over-year gain recorded in March.
Year-over-year price growth accelerated in April for apartment units and two-storey single family homes, while decelerating for townhouse/row units and one-storey single family homes.
Single family home sales continue to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+5.84 per cent), led by two-storey single family homes (+6.89 per cent). By comparison, the rise in selling prices was more modest for one-storey single family homes (+4.20 per cent), townhouse/row units (+3.87 per cent), and apartment units (+2.60 per cent).
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