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Ottawa, ON, June 15, 2018 – Statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales were little changed from April to May 2018.
National home sales via Canadian MLS® Systems remained little changed in May 2018. Having edged 0.1% lower, it marked the lowest level for national sales activity in more than five years. (Chart A)
Slightly more than half of all local housing markets reported fewer sales in May compared to April, led by the Okanagan region, Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley, together with the Durham region of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Quebec City. Declines in activity were offset by gains in Calgary, Thunder Bay, Brantford, London and St. Thomas, Oakville-Milton and the Quinte Region west of Kingston. A small increase in GTA sales also supported the national tally.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 16.2% compared to May 2017 and reached a seven-year low for the month. It also stood 5.5% below the 10-year average for the month of May. Activity came in below year-ago levels in about 80% of all local markets, led overwhelmingly by those in and around the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) region in Ontario.
“The stress-test that came into effect this year for homebuyers with more than a twenty percent down payment is continuing to suppress sales activity,” said CREA President Barb Sukkau. “The extent to which it is sidelining home buyers varies among housing markets and price ranges. 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,” said Sukkau.
“This year’s new stress-test became even more restrictive in May, since the interest rate used to qualify mortgage applications rose early in the month,” said, Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Movements in the stresstest interest rate are beyond the control of policy makers. Further increases in the rate could weigh on home sales activity at a time when Canadian economic growth is facing headwinds from U.S. trade policy frictions.”
The number of newly listed homes rose 5.1% in May but remained below year-ago levels. New listings rose in about three-quarters of all local markets, led by Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and the GTA.