National Statistics

 

Canadian home sales hold steady in November

Ottawa, ON, December 15, 2014 - According to statistics[1] released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity was unchanged on a month-over-month basis in November 2014.

Highlights:

  • National home sales were unchanged from October to November.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 2.7% above November 2013 levels.
  • The number of newly listed homes edged down 0.4% from October to November.
  • The Canadian housing market remains balanced.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.2% year-over-year in November.
  • The national average sale price rose 5.7% on a year-over-year basis in November.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate
Boards and Associations was unchanged in November 2014 compared to October. As a result, activity remains much improved compared to the quiet start to the year.

November sales strengthened in half of all local housing markets, with monthly increases in Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton-Burlington, Barrie, and Windsor-Essex tempered by a monthly decline in the Greater Toronto Area.

“The Canadian housing market remains a story about how sales and prices are still running strong in some areas while others are seeing subdued levels of activity with slower price gains or modest price declines,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie. “All real estate is local and your REALTOR® remains your best source for information about how the housing market is shaping up where you currently live or might like to in the future.”

“The effect of lower oil prices on Canada’s housing markets is something of a wildcard at the moment,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “It’s not clear how far oil prices may drop or for how long they’ll stay down. How that plays out may affect the outlook for interest rates, job growth, consumer confidence, and sentiment about making major purchases.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in November stood 2.7 per cent above levels reported in the same month last year. November sales were up from year-ago levels in about half all local markets, led by Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Calgary, and Greater Toronto.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity for the year-to-date in November was five per cent above levels in the first 11 months of 2013. It was also slightly above (+2.4 per cent) the 10-year average for year-to-date sales.

The number of newly listed homes edged down 0.4 per cent in November compared to October. Led by Greater Toronto, new supply was down in just over half of all local markets.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 56 per cent in November. While this is marginally tighter compared to the previous three months in which it averaged 55.7 per cent, the broader trend for the ratio indicates that it has remained balanced and largely stable for the past four months.

A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 per cent is usually consistent with a balanced housing market, with readings above and below this range indicating sellers’ and buyers’ markets respectively.

The ratio was within this range in almost 60 per cent of all local markets in November. About 60 per cent of the remaining markets posted ratios above this range, almost all of which are located in British Columbia, Alberta and Southern Ontario.

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 5.8 months of inventory nationally at the end of November 2014. As with the sales-to-new listings ratio, the number of months of inventory has been stable for the past four months and remains well within balanced market territory.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 5.19 per cent on a year-over-year basis in November. Price gains have held steady between five and five-and-a-half per cent since the beginning of the year.

Year-over-year price growth decelerated among all property types tracked by the index in November compared to October.

Two-storey single family homes continue to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+6.79 per cent), followed closely by townhouse/row units (+5.63 per cent). Price growth was comparatively more modest for one-storey single family homes (+4.20 per cent) and apartment units (+3.18 per cent).

Price growth varied among housing markets tracked by the index. As in recent months, Calgary (+8.53 per cent), Greater Toronto (+7.73 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+5.69 per cent) continue to post the biggest year-over-year increases. By contrast, prices in Regina declined by 3.36 per cent.

In other markets from West to East, prices were up between 1.6 and 2.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis in the Fraser Valley, Victoria, and Vancouver Island, by less than one per cent in Saskatoon and Ottawa, flat in Greater Montreal, and down by less than one per cent in Greater Moncton.

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends than is possible using averages 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 homes sold in November 2014 was $413,649, up 5.7 per cent from the same month last year.

The national average home price continues to be raised considerably by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the calculation, the average price is a relatively more modest $331,743 and the year-over-year increase shrinks to five per cent.

1 All figures in this release except average price are seasonally adjusted. Removing normal seasonal variations enables meaningful analysis of monthly changes and fundamental trends.



PLEASE NOTE:

The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national MLS® sales information from the previous month.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

MLS® is a co-operative marketing system used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 109,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.