The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released its housing report for February 2018, announcing home sales dropped for the second consecutive month, as reported through national MLS systems.
National home sales dropped 6.5% from January to February. The decline is largely due to slower activity in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Year-over-year, national activity is down 16.9%, bringing sales 7% below the 10-year average for the month.
“Sales activity is down in many, but not all, housing markets compared to the end of last year, and varies depending on price range, location and property type,” says CREA President Andrew Peck. “All real estate is local. A professional REALTOR® is your best source for information and guidance in negotiations to purchase or sell a home during these changing times.”
While sales dropped, new listings recovered with an 8.1% increase from January to February, compared to a whopping 20% decline in January. Despite the increase, the amount of new listings is still 6.4% below the 10-year monthly average and 14.6% below the spike seen in December 2017.
“The drop off in sales activity following the record-breaking peak late last year confirms that many homebuyers moved purchase decisions forward late last year before tighter mortgage rules took effect in January,” says Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Momentum for home sales activity going into the second quarter is also likely to (be) weighed down by housing market uncertainty in British Columbia, where new housing policies were introduced toward the end of February.”
Inventory levels are stable (it’s been a long time since we typed those words). As of the end of February 2018, there were 5.3 months of inventory, which is the highest it’s been in 2.5 years and is in line with the long term average of 5.2 months.
Nationally, the average sale price fell 5% year-over-year to $494,000, largely due to price growth slowing significantly in the GTA. As usual, Greater Vancouver and the GTA heavily skewed the average price. Remove these two regions from the equation and the national average home price was only $382,000.
In the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), price growth stabilized year-over-year. Apartment units still have the strongest price growth at 20.1% compared to last year. Townhome price growth increased 11.8%, one-storey singles jumped 3.5%, and two-storey singles increased by only 1%.
At the beginning of March, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) reported that the GTA can expect housing activity to rebound later this summer. Since the GTA has such a strong influence on national averages, perhaps we’ll see a bounce back countrywide this summer (as it turns out, the CREA also predicted a summer rebound).