Strong housing indicators recorded in February — CREA

by Gerv Tacadena19 Mar 2020

Housing market indicators, including sales, new listings, and prices, posted robust results in February, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

Home sales went up by 5.9% in the month, marking one of the largest monthly gains of the past decade. Sales activity was up in about three in five local markets, with the Greater Toronto Area posting the most significant gains in sales at 15%.

On a trend basis, sales increased by 26.9% from the same month last year, when the turnout hit a decade low.

Around 80% of all local markets, including all urban markets, reported higher transactions from the same time last year.

Also read: Will COVID-19 dampen buying activity?

The boost in sales came with the 7.3% uptick in the number of newly-listed homes, offsetting the declines recorded late last year.

Some of the markets that registered an increase in new listings are Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton, the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor-Essex, Ottawa, and Montreal.

"Following a quieter than normal December to January period, February saw a burst of new listings in some of Canada's most supply-starved markets, so it was not a surprise that sales were up alongside that increase in new supply," said Shaun Cathcart, senior economist at CREA.

Cathcart said that in some areas where listings have been low, it would take more than one month of gains in new supply to turn the markets around.

The index for prices posted a 0.7% gain from January, marking its ninth consecutive monthly gain. On an actual basis, prices rose by 5.9%. 

Brian DePratto, senior economist at TD Bank, said the current market conditions due to the impact of the coronavirus could moderate home sales in the next months.

"That said, sales are well-positioned to make a strong recovery once the impact of the virus dissipates, helped by an ultra-low interest rate environment," he said in a report in The Canadian Press.

DePratto said the recovery in sales once the concerns surrounding the COVID-19 ease will likely translate to price gains.

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