Canadian home sales edge higher in March
April 20, 2012
Sales activity for the month of March in Canada rose 2.5% from February sales, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association
(CREA). The increase lifted national activity to its highest monthly level since April 2010. Activity in March was up from the previous month in two-thirds of all local markets, with Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton contributing most to the national increase.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 1.6% above levels in March 2011, the smallest year-over-year increase since last April. It reflects moderate gains in a number of major centres, including Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City. Increases in these housing markets offset larger declines in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, where activity last year ran at unusually strong levels.
“The spring housing market is off to a good start,” said Wayne Moen (pictured), CREA’s newly elected president. “The number of sales and newly listed properties are up from levels last year, and the vast majority of housing markets remain balanced.” While the national housing market remains well balanced, the monthly increase in sales activity caused the balance between supply and demand to tighten slightly. Moen was elected CREA president earlier this month following six years’ service on the CREA Board of Directors, including as vice president and president-elect.
The number of months of inventory stood at 5.7 at the end of March on a national basis, down slightly from 5.8 months in February. The number of months of inventory represents the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, and is another measure of the balance between housing supply and demand.
The national average home price edged down 0.5% on a year-over-year basis in March with the actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in March 2012 at CAD $369,677 (€282,548). “Average prices are up from year-ago levels in most large urban centres,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. “The slight decline in the national average price points to a tug of war between Toronto and Vancouver from the standpoint of their sales mix compared to last year.”