Ottawa, ON, December 14, 2017 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales rose strongly in November 2017.
- National home sales rose 3.9% from October to November.
- Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was up 2.6% from November 2016.
- The number of newly listed homes climbed 3.5% from October to November.
- The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) was up 9.3% year-over-year (y-o-y) in November 2017.
- The national average sale price edged up 2.9% y-o-y in November.
Home sales via Canadian MLS® Systems rose for the fourth month in a row in November 2017, up 3.9% from October. Led by a 16% jump in sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the surge in sales there accounted for more than two-thirds of the national increase. The continuing rebound put November sales activity a little over halfway between the peak recorded in March 2017 and the low reached in July.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity rose 2.6% y-o-y, setting a new record for the month of November. It was the first y-o-y increase since March and was unassisted by the GTA, where activity remains down significantly from year-ago levels. A number of other large markets posted y-o-y activity gains, including Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal.
“Some home buyers with more than a twenty percent down payment may be fast-tracking their purchase decision in order to beat the tougher mortgage qualifications test coming into effect next year,” said CREA President Andrew Peck. “Evidence of this is mixed and depends on the housing market. It will be interesting to see whether December sales show further signs of home purchases being fast-tracked. A professional REALTOR® is your best source for information and guidance in negotiations to purchase or sell a home during these changing times.”
“National sales momentum remains positive heading toward year-end,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “It remains to be seen whether stronger momentum now will mean weaker activity early next year once new mortgage regulations take effect beginning on New Years day.”
The number of newly listed homes rose 3.5% in November, which reflected a large increase in new supply across the GTA.
With sales and new listings having risen by similar magnitudes, the national sales-to-new listings ratio was 56.4% in November, remaining little changed from 56.2% reported in October. A national sales-to-new listings ratio of between 40% and 60% is generally consistent with a balanced national housing market, with readings below and above this range indicating buyers’ and sellers’ markets respectively.
That said, the balanced range for the measure can vary among local markets. Considering the degree and duration that the current market balance is above or below its long-term average is a more sophisticated way of gauging whether local housing market conditions favour buyers or sellers. (Market balance measures that are within one standard deviation of the long-term average are generally consistent with balanced market conditions).
Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with its long-term average, more than half of all local markets were in balanced market territory in November 2017.
The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.
There were 4.8 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of November 2017 – down slightly from 4.9 months in October and around 5 months recorded over the summer months, and within close reach of the long-term average of 5.2 months.
At 2.4 months, the number of months of inventory in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region is up sharply from the all-time low of 0.8 months reached in February and March. Even so, it remains below the region’s long-term average of 3.1 months.
The deceleration in price gains largely reflects softening price trends in the Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets tracked by the index, particularly for single-family homes.
Apartment units again posted the largest y-o-y gains in November (+19.4%), followed by townhouse/row units (+12.3%), one-storey single family homes (+6%), and two-storey single family homes (+5.3%).
Benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in 11 of the 13 markets tracked by the MLS® HPI.
After having dipped in the second half of last year, benchmark home prices in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia have recovered and now stand at new highs (Greater Vancouver: +14% y-o-y; Fraser Valley: +18.5% y-o-y).
Benchmark home prices rose by about 14% on a y-o-y basis in Victoria and by 18.5% elsewhere on Vancouver Island in November, on par with y-o-y gains in October.
Price gains have slowed considerably on a y-o-y basis in Greater Toronto, Oakville-Milton and Guelph but remain above year-ago levels (Greater Toronto: +8.4% y-o-y; Oakville-Milton: +3.5% y-o-y; Guelph: +13.4% y-o-y).
Calgary benchmark home prices remained just inside positive territory on a y-o-y basis (+0.3%), while prices in Regina and Saskatoon were down from last November (-3.5% y-o-y and -4.1% y-o-y, respectively).
Benchmark home prices rose 6.7% y-o-y in Ottawa, led by a 7.6% increase in two-storey single family home prices, by 5.6% in Greater Montreal, led by an 8.3% increase in prices for townhouse/row units, and by 4.6% in Greater Moncton, led by a 7.8% increase in one-storey single family home prices. (Table 1)
The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides the best way of gauging price trends because average price trends are prone to being strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in November 2017 was just under $504,000, up 2.9% from one year earlier. The national average price is heavily skewed by sales in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, two of Canada’s most active and expensive markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations trims more than $120,000 from the national average price (to just above $381,000).
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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month.
CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.
MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 120,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.
Further information can be found at http://crea.ca/statistics.
For more information, please contact:
Pierre Leduc, Media Relations
The Canadian Real Estate Asso
Ottawa, ON, December 14, 2017 – The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations in 2017 and 2018.
Housing market trends continue to diverge considerably among regions along four general themes: British Columbia; the Greater Golden Horseshoe; oil and natural resource dependent provinces; and everywhere else.
Driven by sales trends in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Ontario home sales have rebounded from the depths reached in the summer, but remain well below the peak reached earlier this year. Recently announced changes to mortgage regulations next year may be motivating some homebuyers to advance their purchase decision before the new rules come into effect in January.
Meanwhile, sales activity in British Columbia has improved. Supported by rising activity in the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island, sales for the province are currently running about midway between the record levels of early 2016 and the lows reached in late 2016.
In the natural resource-intensive provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, sales activity is still running at lower levels and supply remains ample. As a result, average prices have flattened in Alberta and eased in Saskatchewan as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador, consistent with their elevated number of months of inventory.
In Manitoba, Eastern Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, sales activity has been steadily improving. Combined with shrinking supply, housing markets in these regions have firmed up and average prices have been making modest gains.
CREA’s previous forecast published in September identified further changes to mortgage rules as a key downside risk. Indeed, this risk materialized in October when tighter mortgage regulations that take effect next year were announced. Among other things, the new rules make it tougher for would-be homebuyers with more than a 20% down payment to qualify for a mortgage. These low-ratio mortgages comprise the vast majority of Canadian mortgage originations.
Recent research by the Bank of Canada suggests that once they come into effect, tightened mortgage rules will reduce sales activity in housing markets across Canada, particularly in and around Toronto and Vancouver. Additionally, with some homebuyers likely advancing their purchase decision before the new rules come into effect next year, the “pull-forward” of these sales may come at the expense of sales in the first half of 2018. Meanwhile, other potential homebuyers are anticipated to stay on the sidelines as they save up a larger down payment before purchasing and contributing to a modest improvement in sales activity in the second half of 2018. Taking these factors into account has led CREA to narrow its forecast decline in sales activity in 2017 and downwardly revise its sales forecast for 2018.
The anticipated decline in Canadian sales activity in the first half of 2018 due to an erosion of housing affordability from tighter mortgage regulations may mitigated by a number of factors. Some buyers may qualify for a smaller mortgage by purchasing a lower priced home, while others may opt to stretch the amortization period when financing their purchase.
National sales activity is projected to decline by 4% to 513,900 units in 2017. The majority of the annual decline reflects weakened activity in Ontario, where sales fell sharply over the spring and summer in the wake of the province’s Fair Housing Plan that was announced in April. While British Columbia is projected to record almost 9,000 fewer sales in 2017, this decline will be almost fully offset by higher activity in Quebec and Alberta.
The national average price is expected to reach $510,400 this year, up 4.2% from 2016. In recent years, average prices have been heavily skewed by large swings in British Columbia and Ontario sales, particularly for higher-priced single family homes.
Meanwhile, prices in Eastern Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have been rising following years of steadily firming market conditions. By contrast, prices were more or less flat or eased slightly in the natural resource-intensive provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador.
In 2018, national sales are forecast to number 486,600 units, a decline of 5.3% or 27,000 fewer transactions versus 2017. This is a downward revision of about 8,500 sales from CREA’s previous forecast.
The overwhelming majority of the forecast decline in sales next year reflects an expected decline in Ontario sales, with activity anticipated to remain well below the record-levels logged in early 2017. Indeed, new mortgage rules are expected to lower 2018 sales in all provinces except Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Based on research by Altus Group, the forecast annual decline of more than 27,000 sales from 2017 to 2018 translates into a decrease of $1.1 billion in economic activity and nearly 12,000 fewer jobs.
The national average price is forecast to edge down by 1.4% to $503,100 in 2018, in large part due to a record number of higher-priced home sales in and around Toronto in early 2017 that is not expected to be repeated in 2018.
New mortgage rules and further interest rate increases are expected to further hold sales in check in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto. As a result, the average price is forecast to hold steady in British Columbia in 2018, while declining by 2.2% in Ontario.
In an extension of current trends, average prices in 2018 are forecast to rise in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. However, price gains in 2018 will be restrained by in all markets by tougher mortgage qualification criteria for low-ratio mortgages that will weigh on higher-end home sales activity.
Also in line with 2017 trends, average prices in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are forecast to either hold steady or edge back slightly in 2018.
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About The Canadian Real Estate Association
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 120,000 real estate Brokers/agents and salespeople working through more than 90 real estate Boards and Associations.
For more information, please contact:
Pierre Leduc, Media Relations
The Canadian Real Estate Association
Tel.: 613-237-7111 or 613-884-1460