April home sales slid in most metro areas, but prices held their ground…for now
Housing data from April showed home sales were down in most major metro markets in the country, with Toronto sales leading the way, down over 41% year-over-year.
Average prices, meanwhile, were down on a monthly basis in the Greater Toronto Area, but continued to rise in most other urban markets outside of Ontario.
The GTA saw the largest retreat in prices, which were down 3.5% from March, but still up 15% year-over-year. Ottawa also saw prices dip 2.7% from March, but were up 13% from a year ago.
Elsewhere, Vancouver prices were still up 1% month-over-month, while Calgary saw a 1.6% increase and Montreal experienced a 2.5% rise in single-detached home prices.
While February is so far looking like a peak for national home prices, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association, prices are still up in cities outside of Ontario.
Here’s a look at the percentage change in average headline prices in April compared to February:
Greater Toronto Area: -6%
Greater Vancouver Area: +5%
Montreal Census Metro Area: +5%
City of Calgary: +5%
City of Ottawa: -1%
But, as real estate analyst Ben Rabidoux of Edge Realty Analytics points out, some of these figures might be misleading.
“House price indexes do a poor job of picking up sharp inflection points. Prices are already down from the February peak in major markets, but it will take several months before this shows up in HPI data,” he wrote in his latest newsletter.
“Price gains nationally are moderating, and may register declines later this year,” he added. “Market balance is weakening, but with months of inventory still just 1.8, it will take several more months of deteriorating trends before headline prices officially print negative.”
Here’s a look at the April statistics from some of the country’s largest regional real estate boards:
Greater Toronto Area
-27% month-over-month (MoM)
MLS Home Price Index:$1,254,436
“Despite slower sales, market conditions remained tight enough to support higher selling prices compared to last year. However, in line with TRREB’s forecast, there is evidence of buyers responding to increased choice in the marketplace, with the average and benchmark prices dipping month-over-month. It is anticipated that there will be enough competition between buyers to support continued price growth relative to 2021, but the annual pace of growth will moderate in the coming months,” said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.
Source: Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB)
Greater Vancouver Area
MLS Home Price Index for all property types:$1,374,500
New Listings: 6,107
“Over the last two months, we’ve seen home sales ease down from the record-breaking pace of the last year,” said Daniel John, chair of REBGV. “While still a small sample size, the return to a more traditional pace of home sales that we’ve experienced so far this spring provides hopeful homebuyers more time to make decisions, secure financing and perform other due diligence such as home inspections.”
Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV)
Montreal Census Metropolitan Area
Home Sales: 5,124
Median Price (single-family detached):$580,000
Average Price (condo):$410,000
New Listings: 7,217
“Sales continue to drop significantly in the Greater Montreal area, making it the least active month of April since 2017,” said Charles Brant, director of QPAREB’s Market Analysis Department. “Considering that 2017 references the most subdued year of activity in the last five years, this step backwards is indicative of a significant slowdown. This is particularly true for single-family homes, where, to find a month of April that is comparable, you must go back to 2014, which was one of the least active years of the last 20 years.”
Source: Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB)
Benchmark Price (all housing types):$526,700
New Listings: 4,577
“Despite some of the monthly pullback, it is important to note that sales remain exceptionally strong and are likely being limited due to supply choice in the market,” said CREB Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “While further rate increases will likely start to dampen demand later this year, more pullbacks in new listings this month are ensuring the market continues to favour the seller, resulting in further price gains.”
“With the number of transactions just slightly over the 5-year average, this was one of the weakest performing Aprils we have seen in a while,” states Ottawa Real Estate Board’s President Penny Torontow.
“Certainly, there are a few factors at play: rising interest rates, growing Buyer frustration, April’s cooler temperatures, as well as the housing supply measures recently announced by the government – these could all be causing Buyers to pull back with a wait-and-see approach,” Torontow added. “We are watching the rest of the spring market closely to determine if this could perhaps be an early indicator of a shift in the market. Since April is only one month, we will be monitoring to see if it becomes a trend moving forward.”