It looks like Canada’s housing market is finally starting to rebound with sales trending upwards in April 2019.
The Canadian Real Estate Association released its housing figures for last month, reporting that sales on a national level increased 3.6% month-over-month, based on transactions reported through Canadian MLS systems. This increase follows a significant drop in February to the lowest activity level since 2012.
Home sales increased in approximately 60% of Canadian markets, with the Greater Toronto Area accounting for more than half of the national gain. The home sales in the GTA and in Montreal outweighed the big drop in activity in British Columbia.
"Sales activity is stabilizing among Canada's five most active urban housing markets," says Gregory Klump, CREA's Chief Economist. "That list no longer includes Greater Vancouver, which fell out of the top-five list for the first time since the recession and is well into buyers' market territory. Sales there are still trending lower as buyers adjust to a cocktail of housing affordability challenges, reduced access to financing due to the mortgage stress test and housing policy changes implemented by British Columbia's provincial government.”
On an annual basis, home sales increased 4.2% year-over-year, but the CREA does point out that April 2018 hit a seven-year low for the month. Regardless, this is the first-year-over-year sales gain since December 2017, and one of the largest in more than two years.
New listings in April 2019 increased 2.7% month-over-month, led by the GTA and Ottawa. On a national level, supply hit 5.3 months as of the end of April 2019, which is in line with the long-term average, but a drop from 5.6 months worth in inventory and 5.5 months in March.
As always, it’s important to note that housing supply varies across the country. For example, the Prairie provinces and Newfoundland & Labrador are oversupplied, while Ontario’s supply is still well below the long-term average.
Apartment units were the only housing type to see a year-over-year price gain, and only by 0.5%. Two-storey single-family home prices fell 0.3%, while one-storey single-family homes dropped 1.4%. Townhome prices remained practically unchanged as well, falling just 0.2%.
It’s a different story when looking just at the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Niagara Region home prices went up 6.2%, followed by an increase in Guelph of 5.1%. Price growth in Hamilton-Burlington went up 4.6%, the GTA increased 3.2%, and Oakville-Milton went up 2.5%. Barrie and District home prices continue to fall, dropping 5.3% year-over-year.
The overall average price of a home in Canada increased slightly by 0.3% year-over-year to just under $495,000. If you remove the GTA and Greater Vancouver from the picture, the national average falls to just over $391,000.
There are some big changes in store for Ontario’s housing market, so we’re interested to see how the rest of the year plays out!