National home sales activity in Canada edged up on a monthly basis last month, up 1.3%, according to latest statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). It said that over residential property sales activity has held fairly steady after gearing down last August in the wake of tightened mortgage conditions. January was the fifth month in a row that national sales activity has shown little change from levels in the previous month.
Home sales picked up in about half of all local markets in January from the previous month, including some of Canada’s most active. Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver posted monthly sales increases of 5.6% and 4.7% respectively, while sales in Edmonton climbed by nearly 10% on the month.
However, sales activity gains in these markets were partially offset by softer sales in Ottawa, the Fraser Valley, Montreal, Regina, London and St. Thomas, and Calgary. ‘There is little new to report about national sales activity, which continues to hold fairly steady at the lower levels first reached when mortgage rules were tightened in the middle of 2012,’ said CREA president Wayne Moen. ‘That said, things are becoming more interesting among local markets, with improving sales in Vancouver and Toronto likely to come as something of a surprise to some,’ he added.
Actual, not seasonally adjusted, activity came in 5.2% below levels reported in January 2012. About two thirds of local markets posted year on year declines in sales activity in January. Notable exceptions include Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Windsor-Essex, and Guelph. ‘Year on year declines in activity have received attention lately, and understandably so since they’re more exciting compared to the fairly steady month on month trend for national sales following changes made last year to mortgage regulations and lending guidelines,’ said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.
‘If national sales activity remains stable near the levels we’ve been seeing since last August, then year on year comparisons will begin fading after the crucial spring buying season. Until then, the focus may remain on how sales were stronger in the first half of last year compared to lower but stable national activity since then,’ he explained.
Quote from PropertyCommunity.com : “National resale housing activity rebounded slightly in Canada in September 2012, marking the first monthly increase since the spring, according to the latest statistics from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).”
The number of newly listed homes rose 1.6% month on month in January, their first monthly increase since last September. New listings rose in a number of Canada’s most active markets, led by Greater Toronto although this monthly increase was the reverse a decline of similar magnitude one month earlier. New listings also rose in Greater Vancouver, Montreal, the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island, which also marked a reversal in a declining trend for new listings in the final months of 2012.
The actual, not seasonally adjusted, national average price for homes sold in January 2013 was $354,754, representing an increase of 2% from January 2012. There were fewer sales compared to year ago levels in relatively pricey Greater Vancouver, which continues to exert a strong gravitational pull on the national average sale price. Excluding Greater Vancouver from the national average price calculation yields there was a year on year increase of 3.3%.
The House Price Index rose fastest in Regina, up 8.8% year on year, although the increase was the smallest since December 2011. Price growth also moderated in Greater Toronto at 3.8% year on year and in Greater Montreal to 2.6% year on year. Year on year growth accelerated in Calgary by 8% and the Fraser Valley by 0.7% however in Greater Vancouver, the index posted a 2.8% year on year decline in January.