Canadian Home Sales Climb Further in November
According to statisticsreleased today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales were up on a month-over-month basis in November 2015
- National home sales rose by 1.8% from October to November.
- Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was up 10.9% compared to November 2014.
- The number of newly listed homes was up 3.1% from October to November.
- The Canadian housing market remains balanced overall.
- The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 7.1% year-over-year in November.
- The national average sale price rose 10.2% on a year-over-year basis in November; excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, it increased by 3.4%.
The number of homes trading hands via MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations rose by 1.8 percent in November 2015 compared to October to reach its highest monthly level in six years.
There was a fairly even split between the number of markets where sales posted a monthly increase and those where sales declined. The national increase was again led by monthly sales gains in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
“Recently announced changes to mortgage regulations will likely boost sales activity in the short term, as buyers jump off the fence to beat the changes before they take effect next year,” said CREA President Pauline Aunger. “Even so, some housing markets stand to be affected by the changes more than others. All real estate is local, and REALTORS® remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future.”
“Changes to mortgage regulations taking effect in mid-February next year appear aimed at cooling the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto housing markets,” said said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Minimum down payments will be going up for homes that sell for more than half a million dollars, so larger more expensive housing markets will be affected most. Unfortunately, the regulatory changes will also cause unintended collateral damage to housing markets beyond Toronto and Vancouver, including places that are facing economic headwinds from the collapse in oil prices.”
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales in November 2015 rose 10.9 percent on a year-over-year basis compared to November 2014 and were up from year-ago levels in two-thirds of all local markets. The increase was again led by the Lower Mainland and GTA. Activity was down sharply in the Calgary region compared to what were historically high levels posted prior to the collapse in oil prices.
The number of newly listed homes rose 3.1 percent in November compared to October, led by the Lower Mainland, Calgary, Edmonton, Kingston and Ottawa.
The national sales-to-new listings ratio eased to 57.3 percent in November compared to 58 percent in October. A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 percent is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings below and above this range indicating buyers’ and sellers’ markets respectively.
The ratio was within this range in slightly fewer than half of all local housing markets in November. Of the remainder, more markets recorded a ratio above 60 percent than fell below 40 percent. Markets where demand is tight relative to supply are located almost exclusively in British Columbia and 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 5.4 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of November 2015, down from the 5.5 months recorded in October and the lowest level in nearly six years. The national figure is being pulled lower by increasing market tightness in B.C. and Ontario.
The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 7.11 percent on a year-over-year basis in November – the largest gain in over five years. Year-over-year price growth accelerated for all property types tracked by the index.
Two-storey single family homes continue to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+8.88 percent), followed by one-storey single family homes (+6.42 percent), townhouse/row units (+5.43 percent) and apartment units (+5.22 percent).
Year-over-year price growth varied among housing markets tracked by the index. Greater Vancouver (+17.83 percent) and the Fraser Valley (+12.36 percent) posted the largest gains, followed closely by Greater Toronto (+10.29 percent).
By comparison, Victoria and Vancouver Island prices saw year-over-year gains that ranged between six and eight percent in November.
Prices edged down by about two percent on a year-over-year basis in Calgary and Saskatoon and fell by nearly five percent in Regina. While the home price declines in Calgary and Saskatoon are a fairly recent trend, prices in Regina have been trending lower since early 2014.
Prices edged higher on a year-over-year basis in Ottawa (+0.68 percent), rose modestly in Greater Montreal (+1.61 percent) and continued to gain strength in Greater Moncton (+4.81 percent).
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 2015 was $456,186, up 10.2 percent on a year-over-year basis.
The national average price continues to be pulled upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. If these two markets are excluded from calculations, the average is a more modest $338,969 and the year-over-year gain is reduced to 3.4 percent. Even then, the gain reflects a tug of war between strong average price gains in housing markets around the GTA and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia versus flat or declining average prices elsewhere in Canada. If British Columbia and Ontario are excluded from calculations, the average price slips even lower to $302,477, representing a year-over-year decline of 4.7 percent.
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