Canadian Home Sales Pick Up In September
- Sales activity rose 2.7 per cent in September from the previous month.
- Holding in line with the ten-year average, activity during the first nine months of this year pulled ahead of sales over the same period last year.
- The number of newly listed homes held steady when compared to the previous month.
- The national housing market tightened in September from the month before, but remains firmly entrenched in balanced territory.
- The national average price posted the smallest year-over-year increase since January.
National sales activity rose 2.7 per cent in September when compared to August, and follows three months of stable activity. September’s increase reflects strengthened activity in a number of major markets, led by Toronto. The monthly increase pushed national sales to its highest level since recently tightened mortgage regulations dampened sales earlier this year.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales activity came in 11 per cent above levels in September 2010. As was the case over the summer, the year-over-year increase reflects weakened activity one year ago.
A total of 361,749 homes have traded hands via Canadian MLS® Systems to date this year. This is 1.2 per cent above levels for the same period in 2010, and in line with the ten-year average.
“The Canadian housing market remains a bright spot against a backdrop of mixed headline news about the global economy,” said Gary Morse, CREA President. “Low mortgage rates continue to draw buyers to the housing market, while recently tightened mortgage regulations are working as intended. That said, housing market trends often diverge from national trends due to local factors, so buyers and sellers should talk to a local REALTOR® to understand housing market trends at play where they live.”
The number of newly listed homes nationally was little changed from each of the previous two months. New listings were up from the previous month in a number of major markets including Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Oakville and Vancouver, offset by fewer new listings in other markets including Edmonton and the Fraser Valley.
The monthly rise in sales resulted in a tighter national housing market that remains firmly planted in balanced territory. The national sales-to-new listings ratio, a measure of market balance, stood at 52.8 per cent in September, up from 51.6 per cent in August.
Based on a sales-to-new listings ratio of between 40 to 60 percent, nearly two-thirds of all local markets in Canada were in balanced market territory in September, with an even split of buyer’s and seller’s markets among the remainder.
The number of months of inventory stood at 6.1 months at the end of September on a national basis, little changed from the end of August (6.2 months). It represents the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, and is another measure of balance between housing supply and demand. Months of inventory have held steady at about six months since April.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in September 2011 stood at just under $352,600, remaining below record level heights reached earlier this year. While up 6.5 per cent from September 2010, the year-over-year increase is the smallest since January.
“Canada’s housing market remains stable amid continuing financial market volatility, contributing to Canadians’ confidence in the economy and providing support for Canadian economic growth,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Interest rates are expected to remain low for longer, and evidence suggests that recent changes to mortgage regulations are preventing the kind of excesses they were designed to avert. Both of these developments are good news for the housing market.”
PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national MLS® sales information 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 neighborhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.
MLS® is a co-operative marketing system 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 99,000 REALTORS® working through more than 100 real estate Boards and Associations.