Sales in Canada fell to a five year low year on year in February 2018, latest index shows

Homes sales in Canada fell further in February 2018, down 6.5% compared to January with overall activity down by 16.9% year on year to a five year low, the latest index shows.

The national average sale price also fell, down 5% year on year to an average of just over $494,000avily influenced by falls in GVA and GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations trims more than $112,000 from the national average price, reducing it to just under $382,000.

Sales were down from the previous month in almost three quarters of all local housing markets, with large monthly declines in and around Greater Vancouver (GVA) and Greater Toronto (GTA).

‘The drop off in sales activity following the record-breaking peak late last year confirms that many homebuyers moved purchase decisions forward late last year before tighter mortgage rules took effect in January,’ said Gregory Klump, CREA chief economist.

‘Momentum for home sales activity going into the second quarter is also likely to weighed down by housing market uncertainty in British Columbia, where new housing policies were introduced toward the end of February,’ he added.

The data also shows that the number of newly listed homes recovered by 8.1% in February following a plunge of more than 20% in January. Despite the monthly increase in February, new listings nationally were still lower than monthly levels recorded in every month last year except January, and came in 6.4% below the 10 year monthly average and 14.6% below the peak reached in December 2017.

New supply was up in about three quarters of local market, led by B.C.’s Lower Mainland, the GTA, Ottawa and Montreal. But despite the monthly rise in new supply, these markets remain balanced or continue to favour sellers.

A breakdown of the figures show that price growth slowed considerably on an annual basis but remain above year ago levels in the GTA by 3.2% and in Guelph by 9.3% while prices in Calgary were flat. Prices in Regina and Saskatoon were down year on year by 4.8% and 3.8% respectively.

Prices rose by 7.7% year on year in Ottawa, led by an 8.9% increase in two storey single family home prices, by 6.1% in Greater Montreal, led by an 8.8% increase in townhouse/row unit prices, and by 5% in Greater Moncton, led by a 6.4% increase in one storey single family home prices.