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January set national housing sales record: CREA

by Neil Sharma on 17 Feb 2021

Another month, another record.

Canada’s housing market set another monthly record in January, with countrywide sales rising by 35.2% on an annual basis, and by 2% month-over-month, according to the latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association.

“2021 started off just like 2020 ended, with a number of key housing market indicators continuing to set records,” Costa Poulopoulos, CREA’s chair, said in a statement. “The two big challenges facing housing markets this year are the same ones we were facing last year—COVID and a lack of supply.”

Supply declined in January by 13.3% from a month prior and contributed to the national average sale price increasing year-over-year by 22.8%. The MLS Home Price Index increased by 1.9% from December to January and by 13.5% compared to January 2020.

Poulopoulos is hopeful that sellers will come out of the woodwork this year.

“It’s looking like our collective efforts to bring those COVID cases down over the last month and a half are working. With luck, some potential sellers who balked at wading into the market last year will feel more comfortable listing this year.”

Ontario drove national housing price growth last month. There were annual gains of 25-30% in Barrie, Niagara, Grey-Bruce Owen Sound, Huron Perth, Kawartha Lakes, London and St. Thomas, North Bay, Simcoe and District, and Southern Georgian Bay. Year-over-year gains of 20-25% were recorded in Hamilton, Guelph, Oakville-Milton, the Bancroft area, Brantford, Cambridge, Kitchener-Waterloo, Peterborough and the Kawarthas, and Ottawa, as well as in Moncton, New Brunswick.

The Lakelands region also saw annual sales gains north of 30%, CREA noted.

According to CREA’s Senior Economist Shaun Cathcart, a dearth of housing supply could conceivably drive prices even higher, with seasonality also playing an outsized role.

“The problem with this time of year is that the buyers and sellers that will in time define the Canadian housing story of 2021 are mostly all still waiting in the wings,” he said in a statement. “It’s the dead of winter and we’re only just starting to get the second wave of COVID under control. We’re unlikely to see a rush of listings until the weather and public health situations improve, and we won’t see buyers until those homes come up for sale. The best-case scenario would be if we see a lot of sellers who were gun-shy to engage in the market last year making a move this year. A big surge in supply is what so many markets really need this year to get people into the homes they want, and to keep prices from accelerating any more than they already are.”


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