Home sales in Canada fall to 2% below levels from a year ago

Taylor Scott International News

Residential property sales in Canada fell by 3.1% in January compared with the previous month and are 2% below levels recorded a year ago, according to the latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association. The monthly CREA home index also shows that prices are 3.1% above a year ago. Price gains varied among housing markets tracked by the index with growth of 7.76% in Calgary, 7.47% in Greater Toronto and 5.53% in Greater Vancouver being the largest year on year increases. In other markets prices were up on a year on year in the Fraser Valley, Victoria, and Vancouver Island, while remaining stable in Saskatoon, Ottawa, and Greater Montreal. By contrast, prices declined year on year in Regina and Greater Moncton January sales were down from the previous month in about 60% of all local housing markets and on a provincial basis, the monthly decline largely reflected fewer sales in Alberta and Saskatchewan. ‘As expected, consumer confidence in the Prairies has declined and moved a number of potential home buyers to the side lines as a result. By contrast, housing market trends in the Maritimes are continuing to improve,’ said CREA president Beth Crosbie. Actual, not seasonally adjusted, activity in January stood 2% below levels reported in the same month last year, marking the first year on year decline since April 2014. ‘Comparing sales activity for January this year to sales one year earlier, there was a fairly even split between the number of markets where sales were up versus the number of markets where sales were down,’ said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. ‘The decline in national sales largely reflects weakened activity in Calgary and Edmonton. If these two markets are removed from national totals, combined sales activity remained 1.9% above year ago levels,’ he explained. The index data also shows that the number of newly listed homes rose 0.7% in January compared to December. New supply climbed higher in just over half of all local markets, led by Edmonton and Greater Toronto. By contrast, Greater Vancouver, Calgary, and Regina posted the largest monthly declines in new listings. The national sales to new listings ratio was 49.7% in January, marking the first time this measure of market balance has dipped below 50% since December 2012. A sales to new listings ratio between 40% and 60%n 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 January. 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 6.5 months of inventory nationally at the end of January 2015, its highest reading since April 2013. As with the sales to new listings ratio, the reading for the number… Continue reading →

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