According to the latest Canadian real estate market statistics issued by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), home sales activity across the country increased over the previous month. National home sales rose 0.7% from September to October, marking the sixth consecutive month of stronger resale housing activity when compared to the earlier months of the year. Last month’s sales activity is also the strongest for the month of October since 2009.
Strong Home Sales Activity Persists in Local Markets
Despite the national increase, many local Canadian markets did not report an increase in sales, demonstrating the very local nature of real estate trends. CREA President Beth Crosbie notes that “low interest rates continued to support sales in some of Canada’s more active and expensive urban housing markets” in October, which is likely a contributing factor towards the upwards trend in national home sales.
However, the strength of sales activity extends beyond major urban centres like Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary. CREA reported that October sales were up from year-ago levels in roughly 70% of all local markets, with October’s actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity standing 7% above levels reported in the same month of 2013.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) year-to-date sales activity recorded in October was 5.2% above levels reported at this time last year, and 2.5% above the ten year average for the period. October saw the number of newly listed homes rise 0.8% over September of this year, with outsized gains in Greater Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto, despite new supply lower in just over half of all local markets.
The sales-to-new-listings ratio held steady for the third consecutive month in October, at 55.7%, which remains within the 40%-60% range that is typically reflective of a balanced housing market. The end of October saw 5.8 months of inventory, which represents the number of months it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity. As with the sales-to-new-listings ratio, the number of months of inventory remains within balanced market territory at this point in the year.
CREA also reported that the Aggregate Composite MLS Home Price Index rose by 5.51% year-over-year in October. Two storey single family homes saw the most significant year-over-year price gains, rising 6.94%, followed by townhouses/row units which increased 5.83% and one storey single family homes which rose 4.75%. Sale prices for apartment units increased more moderately, rising 3.51%.
National Average Home Price Rises 7.1% to $419,699
The MLS Home Price Index provides a more accurate report than is possible using average home prices because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is. The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for a Canadian home sold in October was $419,699, a year-over-year increase of 7.1%. The national average does continue to be skewed upwards by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among the country’s most active and expensive markets. When these markets are excluded from the calculation, the national average home price is $330,596, a year-over-year increase of just 5.4%.
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