As temperatures dropped in January so too did housing sales across the country as Canadians preferred to stay inside the warmth of home than to trudge through the snow to visit open houses.
“A number of buyers likely waited out January’s deep freeze before going house hunting, particularly where I’m from in Southern Ontario,” CREA President Laura Leyser said. “It’s a perfect example of how a local influence that may not be shared by other markets can factor into national sales activity. Like the weather, all real estate is local.”
Nine provinces and territories experienced year-over-year percentage drops in January, with only 9,298 homes changing hands in Ontario; accounting for a 6.1 per cent drop in sales for the province. That drop was due, in large part, to the GTA’s underperformance in January. The region saw a 5.5 per cent decrease in sales.
Other provinces that recorded significant sales drops include Manitoba (-6.3), Quebec (-3.1), New Brunswick (-6), Nova Scotia
(-17.2), Prince Edward Island (-17.1) and Newfoundland & Labrador (-14.7).
Meanwhile, Canada’s three most western provinces fared fairly well. British Columbia saw a 24.5 per cent jump in sales, Alberta enjoyed a 5.6 per cent increase and Manitoba recorded a slight 1.3 per cent hike.
And the rest of Canada’s markets are expected to follow suit as the colder months give way to a milder end of winter and, eventually, the beginning of spring.
“Canadian housing market performance in January was a weather report of sorts, with January’s Polar Vortex having dented both resale activity and new construction,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “We’ll be keeping a close eye on February’s numbers for signs of a rebound in Southern Ontario, where sales reflected deferred home purchases due to cold weather rather than home buyers getting cold feet.”