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National home sales rebounded in April with transactions rising 4%, marking the first year-over-year gain since December 2017, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported today.

Housing sales have been in a two-month slump, with February marking a seven-year low. Spring is looking far brighter, with month-over-month sales rising 3.5% to April from March.

Even with the gains, however, activity is still far lower than the market’s peak, and 40% of markets were either stable or in decline, including Vancouver. In contrast, Toronto is responsible for over half the increase in transactions.

“Sales activity is stabilizing among Canada’s five most active urban housing markets,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “That list no longer includes Greater Vancouver, which fell out of the top-five for the first time since the recession and is well into buyers’ market territory.”

Prices barely budged, rising less than 1% year-over-year. The national average property price stands at $495,000, or $391,000 once you remove Toronto and Vancouver.

Benchmark prices are also stable, according to the Aggregate Composite MLS Home Price Index, which tracks 18 markets and is considered a more accurate reflection of price trends for the “typical” property.

Cities in Ontario are doing better than in British Columbia, with benchmark prices in Vancouver down 8.5% year-over-year, the Fraser Valley down 4.5% and Victoria up less than 1%. Meanwhile, Toronto is up over 3%, the Niagara Region 6%, and Ottawa is up almost 8%.

Klump cites the reason for British Columbia’s decline as “a cocktail of housing affordability challenges, reduced access to financing due to the mortgage stress test and housing policy changes implemented by British Columbia’s provincial government.”

The Prairies continue to suffer from an excess of inventory and low oil prices, which have led to benchmark prices dropping 4.5% in Calgary, 4% in Edmonton and 4.5% in Regina.

“Housing market trends are improving in some places and not so much in others,” said Jason Stephen, CREA’s President. “All real estate is local.”

For more data on this month’s housing market check out the infographic below:

crea home prices april 2019


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