Residential property sales in Canada edged up last month while prices remained steady, according to statistics from the Canadian Real Estate Association. Sales increased by 0.6% in April, month on month and in more than half of all local markets led by gains in Greater Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Victoria.
Actual, not seasonally adjusted, activity came in 3.1% below levels reported in April 2012, with transactions down on a year on year basis in about 60% of local markets. That compares to a decline of more than 15% in March, with transactions down in more than 90% of all local markets. ‘The Easter holiday and an extra full weekend at the end of the month lowered March sales activity and the absence of these factors in April helped sales for the month,’ said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.
Since changes to mortgage rules made in 2012 took effect, national sales have been running 9 to 10% below levels posted in the first half of 2012 but they’ve been remarkably steady, according to the data. ‘April activity was on par with where it stood last August, and month to month changes since then have held to within a range of plus or minus 2%,’ added Klump. Monthly changes in national sales activity have held to within this narrow range over a nine month period only once before since CREA’s seasonally adjusted data began in 1988.
Quote from PropertyCommunity.com : “The residential real estate market ended 2012 in a stable condition with national prices up year on year and sales down due to changes in mortgage lending rules.”
The number of newly listed homes fell 0.9% month on month in April. New listings were down in about half of all local markets, led by Montreal and much of rural Quebec, as well as Ottawa and Greater Vancouver. With sales edging up and new listings edging down, the national sales to new listings ratio inched up to 50.4% in April compared to 49.7% in March. This measure has held fairly steady around this level for the past nine months.
The actual, not seasonally adjusted, national average price for homes sold in April 2013 was $380,588, representing an increase of 1.3% from the same month last year. CREA said that fewer sales compared to a year ago levels in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto continued to exert a gravitational pull on the national average sale price. The Aggregate Composite MLs House Price Index rose 2.2% on a year on year basis in April, the eleventh consecutive month in which the year on year gain diminished and the slowest growth rate in more than two years.
Year on year price gains decelerated for all benchmark property types tracked by the index with the exception of apartment units in April, with the latter rising by less than inflation. Price growth remained strongest for one storey single family homes, up 3.1% followed by two storey single family homes up 2.6%, town houses up 1.7% and apartments up 1%.