Market Watch - A Year in The Canadian Real Estate Market.

2018 began with a steep nationwide drop in housing activity. Stricter mortgage qualification rules pushed buyers to the sidelines, as year-over-year double-digit sales decreases became the norm.

Of course, some markets had a rougher year than others. Toronto, with its strong early-2017 performance, had a particularly cool start to the year, as did Hamilton. In the west, the Calgary market continues to deal with the effects of low oil prices which sunk the housing market in 2015, while Vancouver is still adjusting to a stricter foreign buyers tax that was increased in February.

Ottawa was one of Canada’s real estate anomalies for this year where the market continued to be hot for the last few months this year. 


Ontario - Moderate price growth in November

Toronto, December 5, 2018 -- Toronto Real Estate Board President Garry Bhaura announced the continuation of moderate price growth in November 2018 compared to November 2017. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 2.7% year-over-year. The average selling price was up by 3.5% year-over-year to $788,345.

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 6,251 residential transactions through TREB's MLS® System in November 2018. This result was down by 14.7% compared to November 2017, when we saw a temporary upward shift in demand as the market was distorted by the looming OSFI-mandated stress test at the end of last year.

"New listings were actually down more than sales on a year-over-year basis in November. This suggests that, in many neighbourhoods, competition between buyers may have increased. Relatively tight market conditions over the past few months have provided the foundation for renewed price growth," said Mr. Bhaura.

On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, sales were down by 3.4% compared to October 2018. The average selling price after preliminary seasonal adjustment was down by 0.8% compared to October 2018.

"Home types with lower average price points have been associated with stronger rates of price growth over the past few months. Given the impact of the OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test and higher borrowing costs on affordability, it makes sense that the condo apartment and semi-detached market segments experienced relatively stronger rates of price growth in November, as market conditions in these segments remained tight or tightened respectively over the past year," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Director of Market Analysis.


Ottawa, December 5, 2018 --Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,165 residential properties in November through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 1,232 in November 2017, a decrease of 5.4%. The five-year average for November sales is 1,055. November’s sales included 870 in the residential property class, a decrease of 7.2% from a year ago, and 295 in the condominium property class, an increase of just one unit or 0.3% from November 2017.

“Even though home sales are down this month compared to a year ago, this is simply a reflection of the lack of inventory that we have been experiencing all year. Unit sales would have been higher if only we had the selection and supply,” states Ralph Shaw, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “Every REALTOR® I know has active buyers waiting for an opportunity, but many potential Sellers are in the same situation – and have no option but to stay put,” he adds.

The average sale price of a residential-class property sold in November in the Ottawa area was $429,039, an increase of 2.6% over November 2017. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $285,764, an increase of 11.1% from this month last year.*

“Condominium sales continued to lead the way in November which included a higher average price percentage increase than single-family residential sales this month,” Shaw reports. “Robust sales over the last two years have stabilized the oversupply that previously existed in our condo market. Given that the rental market is as tight as it is, the condo market is not necessarily being driven by lifestyle choice but more often is purely about fulfilling accommodation needs.”

The $300,000 to $449,999 range remains the most active price point in the residential market, accounting for 47% of home sales while the $500,000 to $750,000 price range continues to represent one in five of all residential home sales again this past month. Between $175,000 to $274,999 was November’s most prevalent price point in the condominium market, accounting for almost 47% of the units sold.

“When you look at what’s happening in real estate markets across Canada, Ottawa’s market performance is the polar opposite,” Shaw declares. “Our market fundamentals are very strong, and we have experienced steady growth for many years, and indeed decades.”

“With our average home prices lower than the national average and our high employment levels, there is no doubt that Ottawa is one of our country’s most ideal locations to live, work, play, and raise your family,” Shaw concludes.

In addition to residential and condominium sales, OREB Members assisted clients with renting 2,553 properties since the beginning of the year down from 2,821 from this time last year.


Alberta - Challenging economic conditions continue to impact the resale market

Calgary, December 3, 2018 – Sitting below long-term averages, November sales in the city totalled 1,171 units. 

For the year so far, sales activity has totalled 15,349 units, a 14% decline over last year and nearly 20% below long-term averages.

“Recent challenges in the energy sector have weighed on consumer confidence over the past month. Combined with weakness in the employment market and further gains in lending rates, this is impacting ownership demand,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

New listings eased by seven% in November compared to last year. The adjustment in new listings has helped prevent further inventory gains, with 6,501 units in overall inventory, but levels remain well above the 5,683 units in inventory seen last year and 32% higher than typical levels for November.

“Higher inventories and weaker sales are resulting in buyer’s market conditions and price declines,” said Lurie.

The citywide benchmark price was $422,600 in November, nearly one% lower than last month and over three% below last year’s levels.

Year-to-date sales have slowed across all price ranges, except product priced below $200,000, which now represents nearly six% of all sales. The largest decline in sales has occurred in the $600,000 - $999,9999 range.

“In any market, affordable product is always desirable,” said CREB® president Tom Westcott.

“For buyers, it may mean being able to step into a home that was previously unattainable. It also means that sellers need to be keenly aware of what is successfully selling in their neighbourhood and surrounding communities.”


British Colombia - Home sales down across all property types

Vancouver, December 04, 2018 -- Home buyer demand remains below long-term historical averages in the Metro Vancouver* housing market.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales totalled 1,608 in the region in November 2018, a 42.5% decrease from the 2,795 sales recorded in November 2017, and an 18.2% decrease compared to October 2018 when 1,966 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 34.7% below the 10-year November sales average and were the lowest sales for the month since 2008.

“Home buyers have been taking a wait-and-see approach for most of 2018. This has allowed the number of homes available for sale in the region to return to more typical historical levels,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “This activity is helping home prices edge down, across all property types, from the record highs we’ve experienced over the last year.”

There were 3,461 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in November 2018. This represents a 15.8% decrease compared to the 4,109 homes listed in November 2017 and a 29% decrease compared to October 2018 when 4,873 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 12,307, a 40.7% increase compared to November 2017 (8,747) and a 5.2% decrease compared to October 2018 (12,984).

For all property types, the sales-to-active-listings ratio for November 2018 is 13.1%. By property type, the ratio is 8.9% for detached homes, 14.7% for townhomes, and 17.6% for apartments.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12% mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20% over several months.

“Home prices have declined between four and seven% over the last six months depending on property type. We’ll watch conditions in the first quarter of 2019 to see if home buyer demand picks up ahead of the traditionally more active spring market,” Moore said.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,042,100. This represents a 1.4% decrease over November 2017 and a 1.9% decrease compared to October 2018.

Detached home sales in November 2018 reached 516, a 38.6% decrease from the 841 detached sales recorded in November 2017. The benchmark price for detached homes is $1,500,100. This represents a 6.5% decrease from November 2017 and a 1.6% decrease compared to October 2018.

Apartment home sales reached 810 in November 2018, a 46.3% decrease compared to the 1,508 sales in November 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $667,800. This represents a 2.3% increase from November 2017 and a 2.3% decrease compared to October 2018.

Attached home sales in November 2018 totalled 282, a 36.8% decrease compared to the 446 sales in November 2017. The benchmark price of an attached home is $818,500. This represents a 2.6% increase from November 2017 and a 1.3% decrease compared to October 2018.

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