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National home sales activity dips lower in November

Thursday, January 10, 2019

National home sales declined 2.3 per cent from October to November 2018, according to statistics from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). This comes after home sales fell 1.7 per cent on a monthly basis in October. While the number of homes being sold is still up compared to spring of last year, it remains below monthly levels posted between 2014 and 2017.

The number of home sales transactions fell in just over half of all local markets, with lower activity in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Greater Vancouver Area (GVA) and Hamilton-Burlington balancing increased sales in Edmonton.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity fell 12.6 per cent year-over-year, falling below the 10-year average for the month of November. Sales were down on an annual basis in three-quarters of all local markets, including the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Calgary, the GTA and Hamilton-Burlington.

“National sales activity has lost a bit of momentum over the past couple of months, but local market trends can be, and very often are, different by comparison,” said Barb Sukkau, CREA president, in a press release.

“The decline in homeownership affordability caused by this year’s new mortgage stress-test remains very much in evidence,” added Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. “Despite supportive economic and demographic fundamentals, national home sales have begun trending lower. While national home sales were anticipated to recover in the wake of a large drop in activity earlier this year due to the introduction of the stress-test, the rebound appears to have run its course.”

The number of newly-listed homes dropped 3.3 per cent month-over-month, with new supply dwindling in approximately 70 per cent of all local markets.

As new listings declined by more than home sales in November, the national sales-to-new listings ratio rose to 54.8 per cent, compared to October’s 54.2 per cent ratio. This measure has remained close to its long-term average of 53.4 per cent since the beginning of 2018. About 60 per cent of all local markets were in balanced market territory in November.

There were 5.4 months of inventory nationally at the end of November 2018, a figure in line with the long-term average of 5.3 months. However, in the Prairie provinces and in Newfoundland & Labrador, the number of months of inventory is well above its long-term average, while it is well below its long-term average in Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. In other provinces, sales and inventory are more balanced.

The Aggregate Composite MLS Home Price Index (HPI) climbed two per cent year-over-year in November 2018. Apartment units saw the largest annual price increases in November, climbing six per cent, followed by townhouse/row units, which rose four per cent. One-storey single-family homes only saw prices rise 0.4 per cent, while two-storey single-family homes held steady at a 0.1 per cent increase.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in November 2018 just surpassed $488,000, a 2.9 per cent decline compared to November 2017. When removing the GTA and GVA from calculations, the national average price sat at just over $378,000.

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