May brings lower homes sales and fewer new listings

OTTAWA – June 16th, 2010 – Statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that home sales activity and new listings in Canada declined in May.

Seasonally adjusted home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards declined nationally by 9.5 per cent in May from near-record level activity the previous month. While activity declined in more than 70 per cent of local markets, the lower national figure resulted largely from fewer sales in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales activity was down 4.3 per cent in May from the same month last year. In a departure from the normal seasonal pattern, national activity levels in May were also down from April levels. This suggests that the combination of changes to mortgage regulations and rising mortgage rates pulled forward a number of sales into April that would have otherwise taken place at a later date.

“May was the first full month in which sales activity was affected by these changes,” said CREA President Georges Pahud. “An accompanying decline in new listings and housing starts means these changes are also affecting the supply side, which will keep the market balanced and Canadian home prices stable.”

The seasonally adjusted number of homes that were new listings on Canadian MLS® Systems in May 2010 declined by four per cent from the previous month. This marks the first monthly decline in new listings in eight months. New listings had been climbing sharply, rising from a four-year low last September to the second highest level ever last month.

The number of homes listed for sale on Boards’ MLS® Systems at the end of May was up 5.4 per cent from levels at the same time last year, when the supply of homes for sale on the market had started declining.

The national average price of homes sold via Canadian MLS® Systems rose 8.5 per cent in May from a year ago. This is a smaller increase compared to those recorded over the past nine months.

“Supply and demand has become more balanced in a number of major markets,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “Homebuyers now have more choice and are likely be in less of a rush to purchase than they were recently, so the amount of time it takes to sell a home is expected to rise in the coming months.”

With last year’s string of downwardly skewed average price values having now mostly passed, year-over-year national average price comparisons are coming back into line with changes in the national weighted average price.

The weighted average price compensates for changes in provincial sales activity by taking into account provincial proportions of privately owned housing stock. It climbed 8.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis in May 2010. Similarly, the residential average price in Canada’s major markets was up 9.8 per cent year-over-year in May, while the weighted major market average price rose 10.7 per cent.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of months of inventory stood at 5.3 months in May 2010. This is up from 4.8 months at the same time last year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, months of inventory stood at 6.1 months in May, the highest level since last April.

“The number of months of inventory may rise further in response to easing sales activity and a further rise in the number of active listings,” said Klump. “However, the number of newly listed homes will ultimately retreat in response to a more competitive sales and pricing environment in a number of local markets. The outlook for the Canadian economy, employment, and mortgage market trends remain upbeat, so supply and demand will remain balanced on a national basis. Canada will avoid a U.S.-style home price correction.”

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.

A more balanced market and the avoidance of a U.S. style home price correction are welcome news. I am always available to discuss your real estate queries or challenges. Please feel free to contact me at or 905-845-2200.


U.S.-Style Home Price Correction Unlikely in Canada

As a Realtor, the first question posed to me when I meet new people is always “How is the market?” This is often followed with “Where is the market heading?” I always enjoy these conversations with individuals who are interested in the dynamic market I am very much immersed in. The looming introduction of the GST is almost a month away and many people want to know how this is going to impact the market in the immediate term. Many fear we could be at the top of the market and heading for a correction. Below, you will find an excellent commentary from CREA on this very question.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released a new report today indicating that home prices will stabilize, and will remain stable for some time. This means that Canadian homeowners are unlikely to experience a U.S.-style decline in the value of their homes.

“The relationship between average price and income has recently been cited as portending a U.S.-style correction in Canadian home prices,” said Gregory Klump, Chief Economist, CREA. “However, such warnings ignore the longer-term relationship between prices and income, and disregard typical Canadian housing market cycle dynamics.”

Home prices tend to rise in cycles, characterized by periods of sharp growth and periods of stability. By contrast, income generally follows an orderly upward trend over time. For home prices to keep pace with incomes, they must rise faster during housing booms to make up for periods of little or no price growth. Canadian home prices were stagnant throughout most of the 1990s, while incomes continued rising, making housing more affordable. Over the past decade, home prices have climbed sharply as mortgage interest rates declined.

Klump adds: “The Canadian housing market is now widely thought to be at, or very near, the top of a cycle, and the ratio of home prices to incomes is currently high. This ratio will revert to its long-term average as it always does as part of a normal housing market cycle. History suggests, however, that it will not do so by means of a significant correction in home prices. The more likely scenario is that home prices will stabilize, giving incomes a chance to catch up again.”

The correction in U.S. home prices has sparked fears that Canadian home prices may share a similar fate. However, according to Klump, “warnings to this effect ignore solid Canadian mortgage market trends.”

Conservative lending practices in the mortgage industry combined with prudent borrowing and accelerated payments among Canadian mortgage holders have been seen throughout the recent housing market cycle. Accelerated accumulation of home equity will provide options for the small proportion of homeowners who may face financial difficulty when their mortgage is renewed at a higher interest rate. These trends are expected to help Canada avoid a U.S.-style housing crisis.

The correction in U.S. home prices is set against a massive oversupply of homes due to distress sales, combined with a drop in housing demand due to unemployment. The unwinding of the housing boom in Canada will be more orderly, characterized by softening sales activity and stable prices.

I hope you have found this information informative and I always welcome your comments or viewpoints on this and all topics posted on I can also be reached at 905-330-1241 or

Sales, Price, Listings All up from Last Year (in Burlington)

(March 5, 2010 – Hamilton, Ontario) The Greater Hamilton-Burlington area resale market reported a total of 1114 units sold in February, an increase of 50 per cent over February of last year, according to the Multiple Listing Services® (MLS®) statistics released by the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) The total unit sales, when compared to January of this year, were 50 per cent higher in February, 2010. “It is no surprise that our numbers have all increased from last year at this time,” said Joe Ferrante, RAHB President, “given there was so much uncertainty in the market in early 2009. It’s obvious that both buyers and sellers are showing confidence that the economy is recovering.” Residential properties sold during February totalled 1067 which included 866 freehold properties and 201 condominiums. Commercial sales for February, including industrial, farm, vacant land and business, totalled 47 units. The average price of freehold residential properties sold in the month of February was $331,523, an increase of 18.6 per cent over the same month last year and an increase of 9.4 per cent over last month. In the condominium market, the average price of condominiums in February was $241,987, an increase of 20.7 per cent over February, 2009 and an increase of five per cent over last month. The average sale price reflects the dollar volume of residential sales divided by the number of total residential units sold. February’s total average residential sales price increased 18.2 per cent over the same month in 2009. The total number of units listed for sale during February was 1751, which is 24 per cent higher than were listed in the same month in 2009. “We anticipate that the spring market will be strong,” added Ferrante, “as buyers and sellers look to make their home purchases and sales before the HST kicks in and increases the taxes they will pay on the services attached to the home buying process.”,br> Unit sales reflect “all property types” including residential, condominiums, commercial property, farmland and sales of businesses.

There are some amazing numbers in this hot residential resale market. If you are considering selling or buying and would like to discuss the local market conditions, please contact me at 905-330-1241 or . All the Best! Ryan.