The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada's largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 100,000 real estate Brokers / agents and salespeople working through more than 100 real estate Boards and Associations. CREA delivers critical IT Services to its members through online properties such as www.REALTOR.ca and www.REALTORlink.ca.
Monthly Archives:: January 2015
In a surprise move, the Bank of Canada announced on January 21st, 2015 that it was lowering its trend-setting overnight lending rate from 1 per cent to 0.75 per cent. This marks the first change to the Bank’s key interest rate in more than four years.
The decision to cut rates was the result of the recent sharp drop in the price for oil, which the Bank said “will be negative for [economic] growth and underlying inflation in Canada.”The Bank’s new Canadian economic forecast assumes that oil prices will average around US$60 per barrel, which means the Bank believes oil prices will rise from the mid-to-high $40 range where they stood at the time of the announcement.
The Bank said that total CPI inflation was already starting to reflect lower oil prices and that inflation was expected to drop below the lower bound of its target range for inflation of between one and three per cent before returning to the target range in the fourth quarter of this year. “This points to interest rates staying lower over the rest of the year,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist.
The Bank said “the oil price shock is occurring against a backdrop of solid and more broadly-based growth in Canada in recent quarters. Outside the energy sector, we are beginning to see the anticipated sequence of increased foreign demand, stronger exports, improved business confidence and investment, and employment growth.”
The cut to the Bank’s key interest rate will act as another shoulder against the wheel pushing Canada’s economy in this direction while helping put a floor under falling inflation.
Even before the surprise rate cut, a rising spread between bond and mortgage rates was already putting downward pressure on five year fixed interest rate mortgages.
As of January 21st, 2015, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 4.79 per cent, unchanged from the previous Bank rate announcement on December 3rd, 2014 and down 0.45 percentage points from the same time one year ago. The Bank of Canada’s next policy interest rate announcement is March 4th, 2015 and the next update to Canadian economic forecast will be published in its Monetary Policy Report on April 15th, 2015.
Ottawa, ON, January 15, 2015– According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity was down on a month-over-month basis in December 2014.
- National home sales fell 5.8% from November to December.
- Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 7.9% above December 2013 levels.
- The number of newly listed homes rose 1.1% from November to December.
- The Canadian housing market remains balanced.
- The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.4% year-over-year in December.
- The national average sale price rose 3.8% on a year-over-year basis in December.
December sales were down from the previous month in almost two-thirds of all local housing markets, led by declines of about 25 per cent in both Calgary and Edmonton. Activity also slipped by about five per cent in the Greater Toronto Area.
“Home sales activity remained above year-ago levels in most local housing markets,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie. “Sales were also stronger in December than they were the previous month in about one-third of all local markets in Canada. This underscores the fact that all real estate is local. Nobody knows this better than your local REALTOR®, who remains your best source for information about how the housing market is shaping up where you currently live or might like to in the future.”
“December sales were down from the previous month in a number of Canada’s largest and most active housing markets, indicating a broadly based cooling off for Canadian home sales as 2014 came to an end,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Even so, sales remain above year-ago levels in many of the same markets.”
“Given the uncertain outlook for oil prices, it’s no surprise consumer confidence in Alberta softened and moved some home buyers to the sidelines,” said Klump. “With regards to slower activity in Calgary and Edmonton, sales in these two markets had been running strong all year before they returned to levels that are entirely average for the month of December.”
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in December stood 7.9 per cent above levels reported in the same month in 2013. Sales for the month were up from year-ago levels in about two-thirds of all local markets, led by Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, the Greater Toronto Area, and Montreal.
Some 481,162 homes traded hands via the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations on an actual (not seasonally adjusted) basis in 2014 — the highest annual level in seven years. Annual sales activity in 2014 was up 5.1 per cent from the previous year and stood 2.6 per cent above the 10-year annual average.
The number of newly listed homes rose 1.1 per cent in December compared to November. Led by Calgary, Regina and Ottawa, new supply was up in just over half of all local markets.
The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 51.8 per cent in December, down from the mid-55 per cent range in the previous four months.
A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 per cent is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings above and below this range indicating sellers’ and buyers’ markets respectively.
The ratio was within this range in just over two-thirds of all local markets in November. More than half of the British Columbia, Alberta and Southern Ontario markets that had been in seller’s market territory in November returned to balanced market territory in December. This list included Greater Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and the Greater Toronto Area.
The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.
There were 6.2 months of inventory nationally at the end of December 2014, up from 5.8 months in November. Together with the softer reading for the sales-to-new listings ratio, this suggests that the Canadian housing market has become more balanced.
In December, year-over-year price growth decelerated compared to November for townhouse/row units but accelerated for other types of homes tracked by the index. Two-storey single family homes continue to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+6.98 per cent), followed closely by townhouse/row units (+5.31 per cent) and one-storey single family homes (+4.51 per cent). Price growth remained comparatively more modest for apartment units (+3.51 per cent).
Price gains varied among housing markets tracked by the index. As in recent months,
Calgary (+8.80 per cent), Greater Toronto (+7.89 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+5.82 per cent) continued to post the biggest year-over-year increases. By contrast, prices in Regina declined by 3.48 per cent.
In other markets from West to East, prices were up between 2.2 and 2.6 per cent on a year-over-year basis in the Fraser Valley, Victoria, and Vancouver Island, and by less than one per cent in Saskatoon, Ottawa, Greater Montreal, and Greater Moncton.
The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends than is possible using averages because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in December 2014 was $405,233, representing an increase of 3.8 per cent year-over-year and its smallest increase since May 2013.
The national average home price remains skewed by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the calculation, the average price is a relatively more modest $319,481 and the year-over-year increase shrinks to 1.9 per cent.
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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems 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 neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.
MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 109,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.
Further information can be found at http://crea.ca/statistics.