According to statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), home sales recorded via Canadian MLS Systems rose by 3.6 per cent m-o-m in April 2019.
After having dropped to the lowest level since 2012 in February, the rebound in sales over the past two months left activities slightly below readings over the second half of 2018.
Approximately 60 per cent of all local markets April sales were up, with the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) accounting for over half of the national gain.
Non-seasonal adjusted sales activities were up 4.2 per cent y-o-y in April. Despite coming from a seven-year low for the month in 2018, this is the first y-o-y gain since December 2017, and the largest in more than two years.
The increase reflects gains in the GTA and Montreal that outweighed declines in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.
The number of newly listed homes rose by 2.7 per cent in April — building on March’s 3.4 per cent increase.
With sales up by more than new listings in April, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 54.8 per cent from 54.3 per cent in March; remaining close to its long-term average of 53.5 per cent since early 2018.
Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, nearly three-quarters of all local markets were in balanced market territory in April 2019.
The number of months of inventory between sales and supply listings represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.
CREA’s statistics reports that there were 5.3 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of April 2019. The results are down from 5.6 and 5.5 months in February and March, and in line with the long-term average for this measure.
The number of months of inventory in the housing market has swollen far beyond long-term averages in Prairie provinces and Newfoundland & Labrador.
Measures remain well below long-term averages in Ontario and Maritime provinces, resulting in increased competition among buyers for listings and fertile ground for price gains.
The Aggregate Composite MLS Home Price Index (MLS HPI) appears to be stabilizing, having edged lower by 0.3 per cent y-o-y in April.
Among benchmark property categories reported by the index, apartment units were the only one to post a y-o-y price gain in April 2019 at 0.5 per cent.
Two-storey single-family home and townhouse/row unit prices were changed from April 2018 by -0.3 per cent and -0.2 per cent. By comparison, one-storey single-family home prices were down by -1.4 per cent y-o-y.
The MLS HPI reports mixed housing market trends in British Columbia, with prices down on a y-o-y basis in the Greater Vancouver (-8.5 per cent) and the Fraser Valley (-4.6 per cent).
Trends are up slightly in the Okanagan Valley (one per cent) and Victoria (0.7 per cent), while climbing 6.2 per cent elsewhere on Vancouver Island.
Greater Golden Horseshoe housing market’s benchmark home prices were up from 2018 levels in the Niagara Region (6.2 per cent), Guelph (5.1 per cent), Hamilton-Burlington (4.6 per cent) the GTA (3.2 per cent) and Oakville-Milton (2.5 per cent).
Across the Prairies, supply remains historically elevated relative to sales and home prices remain below year-ago levels.
Benchmark prices were down by 4.6 per cent in Calgary, four per cent in Edmonton, 4.3 per cent in Regina and 1.7 per cent in Saskatoon.
Driven by an 11 per cent increase in townhouse/row unit prices, home prices rose 7.8 per cent y-o-y in Ottawa, 6.3 per cent in Greater Montreal from a 7.8 per cent increase in apartment unit prices, and 1.8 per cent in Greater Moncton (led by an 11.5 per cent increase in apartment unit prices).
The national average price for non-seasonally adjusted homes sold in April 2019 was close to $495,000, up 0.3 per cent from the same month in 2018.