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Residential property sales in Canada edged upwards 1% month on month in February while sales are now up 6.3% year on year, according to the latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association. The monthly sales 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. Year on year price growth decelerated in February for all housing types tracked by the index except two storey single family homes, which again posted the biggest year on year price gain at 6.63%. This was followed by terraced homes with growth of 4.4%, and single storey single family homes at 4.34%. Price growth remained more modest for apartment units at 2.77%. Price gains varied among housing markets tracked by the index. Greater Toronto saw growth of 7.84%, Greater Vancouver 6.38%, and Calgary with 5.96% posted the biggest year on 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 2% and 2.5% 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 CREA index report points out that 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 on year gain shrinks to just 1.5%. ‘A number of buyers across the Prairies stayed on the side lines in February. 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,’ said CREA president Beth Crosbie. Actual, not seasonally adjusted, activity in February stood 2.7% above levels reported in the same month last year, but remained 5% below the 10 year average for the month of February, the data also shows. ‘Sales came in below the 10 year average for the month of February in two-thirds of all local markets. 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,’ explained Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. The number of newly listed homes fell 2.5% 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% in February. With sales up and new listings down, this marked an increase from 50.4% in January. A… Continue reading →
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