The national housing market appears to be taking a breath after three consecutive months of improvement, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The June data reveals sales, prices and listings remained flat both on a monthly and annual basis.
Overall, home sales edged up just 0.3% from the same time in 2018 and slipped 0.2% from May’s activity. That’s up 10% from the six-year low recorded in February, but still below the market’s climb between 2015 and 2017.
The number of newly listed homes edged slightly higher than sales by 0.8%, which eased buying conditions somewhat for buyers, with a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 57.1%—well within balanced territory. That’s resulted in fairly flat price growth, with the national average up by just 1.7% to $505,000 (though closer to $400,000 when excluding the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto markets). The national Home Price Index, which measures the overall value of homes sold, fell by 0.3% from 2018, though rose by the same amount from May.
All home types saw their benchmark values fall for the second month in a row; two-storey single-family homes saw values slip -0.1%, while one-storey single-family homes dropped the most, by -0.8%. Townhouse and rowhouse prices were down -0.7%, while apartments—typically the strongest-performing housing segment—saw values dip by -0.4%.
Home Sales and Price Growth Uneven Across Canada
As has been the developing trend, sales activity has been lopsided across the country; some markets are experiencing a searing pace, while others remain in a supply-demand slump. Conditions remain slow in several major urban centres including Greater Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax-Dartmouth, though this has largely been offset by strong performance in Quebec and Southern Ontario markets.
“There’s a growing divergence in Canadian housing market trends between eastern and western Canada,” stated Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. “While sales activity in Canada’s three westernmost provinces appears to have stopped deteriorating, it will be some time before supply and demand there becomes better balanced and the outlook for home prices improves.”
A Mix of Buyers’ and Sellers’ Markets
CREA finds 80% of all local housing markets to be considered balanced, and that the level of national inventory sits at five months—the lowest since January 2018, but still well aligned with the long-term average of 5.3 months.
However, as is the case with uneven sales, supply remains widely inconsistent in markets across the country, well above typical levels in B.C. and the Prairie markets. However, it’s the opposite scenario in Ontario and the Maritimes where scant available listings are putting the squeeze on buyers and driving average home prices higher.
Check out the infographic below to see how home prices performed in major Canadian markets in June:
Penelope Graham is the Managing Editor of Zoocasa.com, a real estate website that combines online search tools and a full-service brokerage to let Canadians purchase or sell their homes faster, easier and more successfully across the nation. Home buyers and sellers can browse current MLS listings nationwide as well as past sold house prices in Toronto on the site, or with Zoocasa’s free iOs app.