The Greater Vancouver area and Toronto led the nation in increases for home sales, according to new figures for the month of February from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
The number of home sales increased one per cent in February compared to the month of January, as many other major cities faced declines and weaker sales in the first month of the year.
"A number of buyers across the Prairies stayed on the sidelines in February," said CREA president Beth Crosbie, in a release. "That's likely to remain an important part of the national housing story until the outlook for oil prices starts improving.”
“Meanwhile, home sales in British Columbia and much of Ontario are improving, which 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 the housing market where you currently live or might like to in the future."
According to the CREA figures, actual activity stood 2.7 per cent above levels reported in the same month last year, but remained five per cent below the 10-year average for the month of February.
"Sales came in below the 10-year average for the month of February in two-thirds of all local markets," said Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist, in a release.
"That said, the opposite was true in a few large urban markets in British Columbia and Ontario, despite a shortage of listings there, which is fuelling prices higher."
The number of newly listed homes fell 2.5 per cent in February compared to January, led by Greater Vancouver, the Okanagan region and Calgary.
New listings in Calgary have retreated in recent months after climbing sharply toward the end of last year, while the national sales-to-new listings ratio was 52.2 per cent in February. With sales up and new listings down, this marked an increase from 50.4 per cent in January.
What’s more, there were 6.4 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of February 2015, down from 6.5 months in January.
“Both the sales-to-new listings ratio and months of inventory measures continue to point to a balanced market at the national level,” reported CREA.
Price gains varied among housing markets tracked by the index. Greater Toronto (+7.84 per cent), Greater Vancouver (+6.38 per cent) and Calgary (+5.96 per cent) posted the biggest year-over-year increases.
Even so, the increase in Calgary was far smaller than gains posted last year and the smallest since December 2012.