Further decline for Canadian home sales

The downward trend for Canadian national home sales continued in February according to new figures from CREA.

The December record, before new mortgage rules came into effect, was followed by a weaker January and the new figures show a further 6.5% drop in sales last month.

“Sales activity is down in many, but not all, housing markets compared to the end of last year, and varies depending on price range, location and property type,” said CREA President Andrew Peck

Actual (not seasonal) activity was down 16.9% year-over-year to reach a 5-year low for the month of February, with 80% of markets reporting activity lower than a year earlier.

Sales were 7% below the 10-year average.

There was an 8.1% hike in new listings following a 20% drop in January; but were still 6.4% below the 10-year average and 14.6% below the December peak.

Inventory was 5.3 months, the highest level in 2.5 years and in line with the long-term average.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 6.9% y-o-y in February, the 10th consecutive monthly rise. But the average (not seasonal) sales price of homes sold in the month was down 5% year-over-year to around $494,000, although excluding the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto areas the average was just under $382,000.

“The drop off in sales activity following the record-breaking peak late last year confirms that many homebuyers moved purchase decisions forward late last year before tighter mortgage rules took effect in January,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Momentum for home sales activity going into the second quarter is also likely to weighed down by housing market uncertainty in British Columbia, where new housing polices were introduced toward the end of February.”

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