The Canadian Real Estate Association has released the latest statistics on the housing market across the country, reporting that August saw a 1.8% increase in sales over the month of July. The statistics reflect homes sold through MLS® systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations, including the Ottawa Real Estate Board. The rise of home sales in August marked the seventh consecutive monthly increase and the highest level for sales since January 2010.
Home Sales Increase Following Late Spring
CREA President Beth Crosbie noted that “the national increase in sales does not reflect local trends in many markets across Canada,” as the national tally was fuelled by increased sales in some of Canada’s most active and expensive markets, including Greater Vancouver, Calgary, and Greater Toronto. Home buyers and sellers in Ottawa should find a licensed sales representative with experience in their area of the city to discuss housing market trends in their specific neighbourhood.
August sales were, however, up in over half of all local markets on a year-over-year basis. Actual, not seasonally adjusted, sales activity stood at 2.1% above the levels posted in the same month of 2013. CREA’s Chief Economist Gregory Klump added that home sales were deferred as a result of the unseasonably harsh weather in the earlier months of 2014, which “subsequently supported activity once the delayed spring home buying season got into gear. This trend was reinforced by a decline in mortgage interest rates.”
Balanced Real Estate Market Continues in August
Sales were down on a month-over-month basis in over half of all local markets, although low interest rates are expected to continue to support housing affordability and sales activity. Year-to-date sales activity in 2014 is up 4.3% when compared to the first eight months of last year, and remains in line with the ten year average for the period. Meanwhile, the number of newly listed homes decreased 1.2% over July 2014, with new supply down in about 60% of local markets.
In August, the national sales-to-new listings ratio was 55.5%, a month-over-month increase of 53.9%, indicating that while the housing market became marginally tighter, it remains within the 40-60% range that marks balanced territory. There were 5.8 months of inventory in August 2014, which is another important measure of the balance between supply and demand. This is a decrease from the previous few months, as May, June, and July all saw 6.0 months of inventory. As with the sales-to-new listings ratio, this indicates that the market has become tighter but is still within the range of balanced territory.
Average Price for Canadian Homes Up 5.3%
The Aggregate Composite MLS® Housing Price Index rose 5.33% year-over-year, which is unchanged over July 2014 and little changed over June of this year. Two-storey family homes posted the largest price gains, increasing 6.32%, with townhomes and row homes following with an increase of 5.59% in August. The price for a one-storey family home increased 5.23%, with gains for apartment unit prices rising a more modest 3.38%.
The actual, not seasonally adjusted, average sale price for homes sold across Canada in August was $398,618, which is a year-over-year increase of 5.3%. The national average sale price continues to be affected by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, two of the country’s most active and expensive real estate markets. Removing these two markets from the calculation results in a national average sale price of $324,738, which reflects a year-over-year increase of 3.9%.
Due to the local nature of the housing market and price trends, be sure to contact us directly or speak with a licensed sales representative who can provide you with more information on the real estate market in your Ottawa neighbourhood. If you’ve been thinking of selling your home, we would be happy to provide you with a free, no-obligation market evaluation of your property in addition to offering advice on listing your home. For those thinking of buying a home in the Ottawa area, we have hundreds of active listings you can easily browse on our website. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to receive regular updates about the Ottawa real estate market, as well as helpful tips for both buyers and sellers!