Ottawa, ON, April 15, 2019 – Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales edged higher in March 2019 after having declined sharply the previous month.
Home sales via Canadian MLS® Systems edged up 0.9% in March 2019 following a sharp drop in February, leaving activity near some of the lowest levels recorded in the last six years. (Chart A)
There was an even split between the number of markets where sales rose from the previous month and those where they waned. Among Canada’s larger cities, activity improved in Victoria, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Oakville-Milton and Ottawa, whereas it declined in Greater Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, London and St. Thomas, Sudbury and Quebec City.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity fell 4.6% y-o-y to the weakest level for the month since 2013. It was also almost 12% below the 10-year average for March. That said, in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, sales were more than 20% below their 10-year average for the month. By contrast, activity is running well above-average in Quebec and New Brunswick.
“It will be some time before policy measures announced in the recent Federal Budget designed to help first-time homebuyers take effect,” said Jason Stephen, CREA’s President. “In the meantime, many prospective homebuyers remain sidelined by the mortgage stress-test to varying degrees depending on where they are looking to buy. All real estate is local, and REALTORS® remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future,” added Stephen.
“March results suggest local market trends are largely in a holding pattern,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “While the mortgage stress test has made access to home financing more challenging, the good news is that continuing job growth remains supportive for housing demand and should eventually translate into stronger home sales activity pending a reduction in household indebtedness,” he added.
The number of newly listed homes rose 2.1% in March. New supply rose in about two-thirds of all local markets, led by Winnipeg, Regina, Victoria and elsewhere on Vancouver Island. By contrast, new listings declined in the GTA, Ottawa and Halifax-Dartmouth.
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