CREA sees stronger sales in second half
June 18, 2019
Canadian housing sales will rally in the second half of this year after a sluggish start, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
National home sales through the multiple-listing service are now projected to edge up 1.2 per cent to 463,000 units in 2019, compared to a year earlier.
CREA's previous forecast estimated a decline of 1.6 per cent this year. This would still leave annual sales below the 10-year average and a far cry from the annual record set in 2016, when almost 540,000 homes traded hands. On a per capita basis, the forecast for 2019 would remain effectively tied with 2018 for the weakest year since 2001.
CREA’s optimism about increased sales is based on a perception that mortgage rates will not rise, the economy will improve, and two federal government programs will encourage first-time home buyers.
British Columbia, once the housing sales growth leader, will also be an outlier this year—but in the wrong direction. It is the only province to see a sharp decline in home sales, with an expected fall to 13.3 per cent from 2018, CREA forecasts. Other revisions from the previous forecast for sales in 2019 were upward—Alberta will move from a 5.6 per cent decline to an expected 0.9 per cent decline, and Ontario's gain is upgraded from 0.9 per cent to 3.9 per cent.
Quebec and New Brunswick are forecast to see the biggest sales gains in percentage terms in 2019—up 7.7 per cent and 10.6 per cent, respectively. Both provinces are on track to set new annual records.
Sales in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are forecast to improve by almost 5 per cent from the lowest levels in more than a decade recorded last year. Meanwhile, activity in Manitoba and Nova Scotia is forecast to rise between 3.5 per cent and 4.5 per cent to near-record annual levels.