Canadian Home Sales Edge Higher in October
According to statisticsreleased today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity edged higher on a month-over-month basis in October 2014.
- National home sales rose 0.7% from September to October.
- Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 7% above October 2013 levels.
- The number of newly listed homes rose 0.8% from September to October.
- The Canadian housing market remains balanced.
- The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.5% year-over-year in October.
- The national average sale price rose 7.1% on a year-over-year basis in October.
The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations edged up 0.7 per cent in October 2014 compared to September. This marks the sixth consecutive month of stronger resale housing activity compared to a quiet start to the year, and the strongest activity for the month of October since 2009. (Chart A)
“Low interest rates continued to support sales in some of Canada’s more active and expensive urban housing markets and factored into the monthly increase for national sales,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie. “Even so, sales did not increase in many local markets in Canada, which shows that national and local housing market trends can be very different. All real estate is local and your REALTOR® is your best source for information about how the housing market is shaping up where you currently live or might like to in the future.”
“While the strength of national sales activity is far from being a Canada-wide phenomenon, it extends beyond Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Sales in a number of B.C. markets have started to recover from weaker demand over the past couple of years. They have also been improving across much of Alberta, where interprovincial migration and international immigration are reaching new heights.”
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in October stood seven per cent above levels reported in the same month last year. October sales were up from year-ago levels in about 70 per cent of all local markets, led by Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Calgary, and Greater Toronto. Combined sales in these five markets account for almost 40 per cent of national sales activity, and nearly 60 per cent of the year-over-year increase in national sales this month.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity for the year-to-date in October was 5.2 per cent above levels in the first 10 months of 2013 and slightly above (+2.5 per cent) the 10-year average for the same period.
The number of newly listed homes rose 0.8 per cent in October compared to September. While new supply was down in just over half of all local markets, outsized gains in Greater Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Greater Toronto boosted the national figure.
The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 55.7 per cent in October. With sales and new listings having once again moved in tandem, the sales-to-new listings ratio held steady for the third consecutive month.
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 just over half of all local markets in October. About 70 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 October 2014. It has held to a narrow range between 5.8 and 6.0 months since May of this year. As with the sales-to-new listings ratio, the number of months of inventory remains well within balanced market territory while pointing to a national market that has become tighter since the beginning of the year, when sales got off to a slow start.
The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 5.51 per cent on a year-over-year basis in October. 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 accelerated for two-storey single family homes, townhouse/row units, and apartment units in October. By contrast, price momentum slowed further for one-storey single family homes.
Two-storey single family homes continue to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+6.94 per cent), followed closely by townhouse/row units (+5.83 per cent) and one-storey single family homes (+4.75 per cent). Price growth for apartment units remains comparatively more modest (+3.51 per cent).
Price growth varied among housing markets tracked by the index. As in recent months, Calgary (+9.47 per cent), Greater Toronto (+8.30 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+6.03 per cent) continued to post the biggest gains.
Prices were up between one and 2.5 per cent on a year-over-year basis in the Fraser Valley, Victoria, and Vancouver Island, flat in Saskatoon, Ottawa, Greater Montreal, and Greater Moncton, and down 3.4 per cent in Regina.
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 October 2014 was $419,699, up 7.1 per cent from the same month last year.
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. Excluding these two markets from the calculation, the average price is a relatively more modest $330,596 and the year-over-year increase shrinks to 5.4 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.
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 111,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.