National housing price rise fueled in part by luxury home splurge in Vancouver: CREA

As housing prices continued to rise in February, fewer property sales were completed, according to figures out today from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

CREA said overall sales activity via the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) was down 5.9% in February compared to a year earlier. The national average for price rose 8.8% over the same period to reach $365,192.

But that national average was not reflective of more modest gains in most properties, said Gregory Klump, chief economist with CREA. He said it had more to do with a large volume of higher priced homes in and around Vancouver.

Minus Vancouver, the price gain nationally in February is a lesser 3.4%.

“The average price has been skewed higher nationally and in British Columbia recently by a record number of multi-million dollar sales in a couple of areas in Greater Vancouver,” Klump said.

And while sales activity was down, it was still near the five-year average for February, said the report. Vancouver and Calgary were two of the few major cities that saw gains in housing sales in February.

New listings in Canada were up 1.5% in February compared to January on a seasonally adjusted basis. More buyers are being lured by the higher prices they can sell their home and increased real estate demand for this year compared to last summer, said the CREA.

“Most local housing markets in Canada are well balanced, but there are still a number of buyers’ and sellers’ markets,” said Georges Pahud, CREA’s President.

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