Housing sales up for five straight months
August 20, 2019
Sales of existing houses in Canada have posted increases for five straight months, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), buoyed by a buyer wave in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and a surprising mid-summer surge in Metro Vancouver.
July sales nationally were up 3.5 per cent from June and six out of 10 major markets in the country recorded higher sales.
While Vancouver and rhe GTA led the increase, sales in both of these areas remained below the levels posted before the federal mortgage stress test was introduced early in 2018.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity in July was 12.6 per cent above July 2018. Sales were up from a year ago in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Calgary, Edmonton, the GTA and Hamilton-Burlington, Ottawa and Montreal.
"The extent to which recent declines in mortgage interest rates have helped lift sales activity varies by community and price segment," said Jason Stephen, CREA's president.
This was evident in Vancouver, when July—normally one of the slowest months of the year for housing sales—posted the second-highest sales of the year.
New home starts in Metro Vancouver were also up in July, with a total of 2,698 starts—including 1,984 apartments (primarily condos) and 345 detached houses. In all, 45,670 new homes are under construction in the Vancouver region—including more than 37,700 apartments—according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
Metro Vancouver resale housing prices continued to decline, however, down 9.4 per cent from a year ago which drove the composite price below the $1 million mark.
CREA reports housing prices increase from 4 per cent to 6 per cent in most of the Golden Horseshoe area of southern Ontario— the GTA posted a 4.4 per cent rise from July 2018.
Ottawa proved a leader in Ontario, with a near 9 per cent price increase from a year earlier, while Montreal saw home prices climb 7.3 per cent, the highest increase in Quebec.
The national average price for homes sold in July 2019 was just under $499,000, up 3.9 per cent from July 2018, according to CREA.