The number of homes sold through MLS Systems across the country in March increased 1.5 per cent month-over-month, setting a new all-time record for the month, according to statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Sales increased in about 60 per cent of all local markets. Although Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area felt declining sales in March, both regions’ sales remained near record highs reached in February.
“Greater Vancouver and the GTA are heading into the spring home buying season with soaring demand and a shortage of listings,” said CREA president Cliff Iverson in a press release. “Meanwhile, other major urban markets in Canada are well balanced or are amply supplied.”
“Single family home sales in the Lower Mainland of BC and the GTA set new records for the month of March in the range between a-half and one-million dollars – as did sales above a million dollars,” added Gregory Klump, CREA chief economist. “Meanwhile, sales below half a million dollars, which were not subject to recently tightened mortgage regulations, are being increasingly restrained in these markets by a short supply of listings. If current sales and listings trends persist, price gains may pick up further this spring.”
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity increased 12.2 per cent year-over-year, setting a new record for March. It also gained 14.2 per cent over the 10-year average for the month.
The number of newly-listed homes dropped 1.4 per cent month-over-month, led by declines in the GTA and the Hamilton-Burlington region. Due to higher sales and a lower number of listings, the national sales-to-new listings ratio grew to 61.7 per cent in March, indicating the housing market is favouring sellers. This is the ratio’s tightest reading since October 2009.
The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) increased 9.1 per cent year-over-year in March, which is the largest gain it has seen since June 2010. For the second month in a row, benchmark prices across all housing types experienced year-over-year price growth.
Two-storey single family homes had gains of 10.8 per cent, while townhouse/row units experienced gains of 8.6 per cent year-over-year. Sales of single-storey family homes increased 8.1 per cent, while apartment units had increases of 7.3 per cent year-over-year.
Meanwhile, the national average sale price increased 15.7 per cent year-over-year in March to $508,567. When excluding the Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver areas, the average falls to $366,950, which is a 10.4 per cent increase year-over-year.