After a relatively slow start in January, home sales across Canada picked up last month with data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) showing a 5.9% month-on-month gain in February.
According to CREA, the increase, based on home sales recorded over Canadian MLS Systems, marked one of the larger month-on-month gains of the past decade. Data from CREA also revealed that the actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in February 2020 was around $540,000 – a 15.2% from the same month the previous year.
Read more: Canadian home sales down in January
“Home prices are accelerating in markets where listings are in increasingly short supply, specifically in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes which together account for about two-thirds of national sales activity,” said Jason Stephen, president of CREA. “Meanwhile, ample supply across the Prairies and in Newfoundland and Labrador means increased competition among sellers.”
CREA also reported that the number of newly listed homes jumped 7.3% in February compared to January, which the industry body said more than erased the declines of late last year. New supply gains were posted in several large markets, including the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Hamilton-Burlington, Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor-Essex, Ottawa, and Montreal.
According to Shaun Cathcart, senior economist at CREA, the increase in activity followed a “quieter-than-normal” period in December and January.
“February saw a burst of new listings in some of Canada's most supply-starved markets, so it was not a surprise that sales were up alongside that increase in new supply,” said Cathcart. “There is some question about how much pent-up demand remains in parts of the country where listings have been low for some time now. That said, it will take more than one month of increased new listings to even start to turn some of these markets towards some semblance of balance. In the meantime, expect competition among buyers for available listings to continue to drive prices higher.”