Canadian home sales edge higher from February to March, says CREA

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales were up on a month-over-month basis in March 2017.

Home sales over Canadian MLS Systems edged up 1.1% in March 2017, surpassing the previous monthly record set in April 2016 by one-quarter of a percent.

March sales were up from the previous month in more than half of all local markets, led by the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, London & St. Thomas and Montreal.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in March was up 6.6% year-over-year, with gains in close to 75% of all local markets. Sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) posted the biggest increase, which offset a decline in the number of homes changing hands in Greater Vancouver.

“The current strength in national home sales mainly speaks to what’s going on in and around Toronto,” said CREA President Andrew Peck. “Elsewhere, sales either remain slow or well below previous heights. 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.”

“The latest Canadian housing market statistics suggest that the drum-tight housing market balance in Toronto and nearby cities stands in contrast to housing market trends elsewhere in Ontario and other provinces,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Because housing market balance varies by location, federal or provincial policy measures aimed at cooling demand in Toronto risk destabilizing housing markets elsewhere.”

The number of newly listed homes rose 2.5% in March 2017, led by gains in the GTA, Calgary, Edmonton and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

With new listings having climbed by more than sales, the national sales-to-new listings ratio eased to 67.4% in March compared to 68.3% in February.

A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings below and above this range indicating buyers’ and sellers’ markets respectively.

The ratio was above the sellers’ market threshold in about 60% of all local housing markets in March, the majority of which are located in British Columbia, in and around the GTA and across southwestern Ontario.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents how long it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 4.1 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of March 2017, down from 4.2 months in February and the lowest level for this measure in almost a decade. The number of months of inventory in March 2017 stood at or below one month in the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, Oakville-Milton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford, Guelph, Barrie & District, parts of the Niagara Region and parts of cottage country.

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