Home sales for 2019 got off to a slow start in the first half of the year but recovered as the year went on. Here are some of the most notable stats for the year from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
National home sales declined by 0.9% on a month-over-month basis in December.
Actual activity was up 22.7% year-over-year.
The number of newly listed properties dropped by a further 1.8% month-over-month.
The actual national average sale price climbed 9.6% year-over-year.
Home sales recorded over Canadian MLS® Systems edged down 0.9% in December 2019, ending a streak of monthly gains that began last March. Activity is currently about 18% above the six-year low reached in February 2019 but ends the year about 7% below the heights recorded in 2016 and 2017.
Transactions surpassed year-ago levels across most of Canada, including all of the largest urban markets.
“The momentum for home price gains picked up as last year came to a close,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “If the recent past is prelude, then price trends in British Columbia, the GTA, Ottawa and Montreal look set to lift the national result this year, despite the continuation of a weak pricing environment among housing markets across the Prairie region.”
The number of newly listed homes slid a further 1.8% in December, leaving new supply close to its lowest level in a decade. December’s decline was driven mainly by fewer new listings in the GTA and Ottawa–the same markets most responsible for the decline in sales. Listings available for purchase are now running at a 12-year low. The number of housing markets with a shortage of listings is on the rise; should current trends persist, fewer available listings will likely increasingly weigh on sales activity.
The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between sales and the supply of listings. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity. There were 4.2 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of December 2019 – the lowest level recorded since the summer of 2007. This measure of market balance has been falling further below its long-term average of 5.3 months. While still within balanced market territory, its current reading suggests that sales negotiations are becoming increasingly tilted in favour of sellers.
Home prices in Greater Vancouver (-3.1%) and the Fraser Valley (-2%) remain below year-ago levels, but declines are shrinking. Elsewhere in British Columbia, home prices logged year-over-year increases in the Okanagan Valley (+4.2%), Victoria (+2.3%) and elsewhere on Vancouver Island (+4.2%).
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