The number of home sales increased by 1.5 percent month-over-month to set a new all-time record in March 2016. Sales dropped slightly in Greater Vancouver (-0.3%) and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) (-1.8%) but both areas are still near record highs. For March, sales were higher in approximately 60% percent of all markets across the country.

There were record single family home sales in the Lower Mainland of BC and the GTA set new records for the month of March in the range between .5 – 1 million dollars – as did sales above a million dollars. There is an increasing shortage of supply in these markets that may continue to further drive prices up.

With sales up for the month and new listings down, the national sales-to-new listings ratio rose to 61.7 percent in March 2016, the ratio’s tightest reading since October 2009. A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 percent is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings below and above this range indicating buyers’ and sellers’ markets respectively.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 5 months of inventory nationally at the end of March. This is the lowest level in more than six years and a reflection of tighter housing markets in B.C. and Ontario. The number of months of inventory currently sits at or below 2 months in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the GTA and several other major areas across the country.

The national average price continues to be pulled upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s tightest, most active and expensive housing markets. If these two housing markets are excluded from calculations the national average is a more modest as well as the year-over-year gain.

In some of the other larger markets here are some year over year figures for the month of March:

Down 3.5%
Down 11%
Down 2.0%
Down 6.1%
Down 2.0%
Down 6.0%
Up 1.2%
Up 5.0%
London, ON
Up 2.8%
Up 5.0%
Up 1.8%
Up 6.0%
Up 4.9%
Down 29%
Up 2.8%
Down 5.7%
St. John’s
Up 7.2%

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