Canadian home sales, as tracked through the MLS systems of real estate boards and associations across the country, dipped 0.4 per cent from June to July. This marks the second consecutive month of reduced home sales activity, reports the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). However, CREA adds, sales activity in May, June and July reached its highest levels for those months in more than five years.
About half of all local markets showed sales decreases, which were most pronounced in Hamilton-Burlington and the Durham Region, likely due to an insufficient supply of listings following record sales levels in June. Sales in Newfoundland and Labrador, meanwhile, increased the most on a month-over-month basis.
“National sales activity remains solid, fuelled by strength in British Columbia and the Greater Toronto Area, where listings are in short supply or trending that way,” said Pauline Aunger, president of CREA, in a press release. “That said, markets elsewhere across Canada are largely well balanced and in some cases have an ample supply of listings.”
“It’s fair to say that the strength of national sales is still a story about two cities, but it’s equally about how trends there are spreading out in their respective provinces,” said Gregory Klump, chief economist at CREA, in a press release. “Trends in British Columbia and Ontario have a big influence on the national figures, since they account for about 60 per cent of national housing activity. As a result, the national picture reflects how demand is running high for the short supply of single family homes in and around the GTA while the balance between supply and demand is tightening in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. These remain the only places in Canada where home prices are growing strongly.”
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in July increased 3.4 per cent year-over-year and is the second-highest July sales figure on record following July 2009. Activity was 12.6 per cent higher than the 10-year average for July.
The number of newly listed homes increased by 0.2 per cent from June to July, the fourth consecutive month of steady listings. New supply increased in more than half of all local markets, with Calgary and Edmonton leading the pack.
The Canadian housing market remains balanced overall, as the sales-to-new listings ratio across the country was 56.8 per cent in July, a slight decline from 57.1 per cent in June.
The Aggregate Composite MLS Home Price Index, a measure used to control for changes in the mix of sales activity, increased 5.9 per cent year-over-year in July, outdoing June’s 5.43-per-cent gain.
Price growth increased across all home types on a year-over-year basis, with two-storey family homes seeing the largest gain at 8.16 per cent. Single-storey family homes and townhouses saw more moderate gains at 4.88 and 4.49 per cent, respectively. Apartment units saw the smallest increase at 2.96 per cent year-over-year.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average sales price for homes sold in July 2015 increased by 8.9 per cent year-over-year to $437,699. However, when excluding the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto areas, the year-over-year average is $341,438, a 4.1-per-cent increase over July 2014.