Canada Real Estate Prices & Trends

Canada’s real estate markets experienced a decline in homes listed and sold in April 2020 when compared to the previous month, according to the latest market report from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

April 2020: Canada’s Real Estate at a Glance

Month-Over-Month

Between August and September, residential real estate sales in Canada continued their record streak, rising nationally by 0.9% month-over-month.

At a local level, 60% of Canadian housing markets experienced increases month-over-month, including Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Calgary, HamiltonBurlington and Ottawa. Increases in these markets were offset by declines in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Montreal; although CREA notes that sales in Toronto and Vancouver – the two largest Canadian real estate markets – are still historically very strong.

Year-Over-Year

On a year-over-year basis, transactions were up 45.6% in September 2020 , setting a new record for the month by a margin of about 20,000 sales, which CREA points out is “the equivalent of a normal month of September with an entire month of December tacked on.” Home sales were up in almost all Canadian real estate markets compared to September 2019.

Year-to-date, the Canadian MLS Systems have logged 402,578 home sales, which is a 5.8% increase from January-September of 2019.

“Many Canadian housing markets are continuing to see historically strong levels of activity as we enter into the fall market of this very strange year,” says Costa Poulopoulos, Chair of CREA. “Along with historic supply shortages in a number of regions, fierce competition among buyers has been putting upward pressure on home prices. Much of that was pent-up demand from the spring that came forward as our economies opened back up over the summer.”

New Listings & Inventory

Canada’s real estate markets saw new listings fall by 10.2% month-over-month in September. New supply coming on stream was down in two-thirds of local markets, with declines around Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area leading the trend.

Rising sales in September coupled with the decline new listings shifted the national sales-to-new listings ratio to 77.2% – nearing a 20-year high and marking the third-highest monthly level on record.

September logged just 2.6 months of inventory at the end of September 2020, marking a record low. CREA also noted that much of Ontario has one month or less of inventory.

Canada’s Housing Prices

Canada’s real estate prices in September 2020 rose by 1.3% month-over-month. Of the 39 markets tracked by the MLS Home Price Index (HPI), all but two were up from August to September. On a year-over-year basis, Canada’s real estate prices were up 10.3% – the biggest increase since August 2017. The national average price is now $604,000, marking the first time the average price in Canada has topped the $600,000 mark.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average sale price rose 17.5% year-over-year in September.

Canada’s real estate markets saw considerably fewer homes listed and sold in March 2020 when compared to the previous month, according to the latest market report from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

March 2020: Canada Real Estate at a Glance

Month-Over-Month

Between February and March, residential real estate sales in Canada fell by 14.3% as pandemic-fuelled physical distancing measures and economic fallout prompted both buyers and sellers push “pause” in second half of the month.

Month-over-month home sales fell is all of Canada’s biggest housing markets, including the Greater Toronto Area (-20.8%), Montreal (-13.3%), Greater Vancouver (-2.9%), The Fraser Valley (-13.6%), Calgary (-26.3%), Edmonton (-13.2%), Winnipeg (-7.3%), Hamilton-Burlington (-24.9%) and Ottawa (-7.9%).

Year-Over-Year

On a year-over-year basis, transactions were up 7.8% in March 2020, compared to March 2019. However, CREA notes that despite the increase, this is still a considerable slowdown compared to the 30% gain recorded in February.

“March 2020 will be remembered around the planet for a long time. Canadian home sales and listings were increasing heading into what was expected to be a busy spring for Canadian Realtors,” said Jason Stephen, president of CREA. “After Friday [March] 13, everything went sideways.”

Realtors have been following social-distancing measures as advised by government and public health agencies, assisting those who are already in the market view homes and complete their transactions virtually.

READ: Ontario Real Estate Pushes Forward with Virtual Deals

Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist notes that March 2020 was a tale of two markets, “with most of the stronger sales and price growth recorded during the pre-COVID-19 reality which we are no longer in,” he said. “The numbers that matter most for understanding what follows are those from mid-March on, and things didn’t really start to ratchet down until week four. Preliminary data from the first week of April suggest both sales and new listings were only about half of what would be normal for that time of year.”

New Listings & Inventory

New real estate listings hitting the market were down month-over-month in March (-12.5%). Similar to sales activity, the decline in listings was experienced in virtually all markets across Canada.

With sales and new listings both seeing similar declines in March, the national sales-to-new listings ratio declined to 64% compared to 65.4% in February. Despite this slight recession, CREA notes, “market balance was remarkably little changed considering the extent to which current economic and social conditions are impacting both buyers and sellers.”

Based on the sales-to-new listings ratio and the long-term average, two-thirds of local markets were balanced, with most of the remaining markets landing in seller’s territory.

CREA reports 4.3 months of inventory at the end of March 2020, up from February’s 15-year low of 3.8 months however almost a full month below the long-term average of 5.2 months.

Housing Prices

Canada’s real estate prices in March 2020 were defined by tight market conditions and a strong start to the month, before physical distancing measures took effect. The national average price was just over $540,000, up 12.5% year-over-year.

CREA notes this number is skewed by the Greater Vancouver Area and the Greater Toronto Area, which are Canada’s busiest and priciest housing markets. Excluding these two markets would reduce the national average house price by more than $130,000, to around $410,000.

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Lydia McNutt

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