Home sales were up 3.1 per cent in Canada as Western provinces continue to rebound, a sign that concerns of uncertainty may be easing, according to the latest stats from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
“Sales in and around the Greater Toronto Area played a starring role in the monthly increase in May sales,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist, in a statement.
“At the same time, the rebound in sales over the past few months in Calgary and Edmonton suggests that heightened uncertainty among some homebuyers in these housing markets may be easing.”
Two-storey single-family homes continued to post the biggest year-over-year price gains at 7.18 per cent, while one-storey homes posted at 4.11 per cent and townhomes posted 4.09 per cent.
Vancouver and Toronto led in year-over-year increases at 9.41 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively.
Last month signalled the fourth consecutive month-over-month increases, while May also saw national activity at its highest level in more than five years.
Overall, sales were up more than 60 per cent in the Canadian market, led by growth in the GTA, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal.
While the picture is improving, the CMHC recently announced that effective June 1, mortgage default insurance premiums would be hiked for homebuyers with less than a 10 per cent down payment.
As a result, CREA believes that many buyers plunged into the market to beat the increase.
“CMHC announced in April that effective June 1 it was hiking mortgage default insurance premiums for homebuyers with less than a 10 per cent down payment, so some buyers may have jumped off the fence and purchased in May to beat the increase,” said CREA president Pauline Aunger.
“It’s one of the factors that could have affected sales last month.”
Still, actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in May 2015 stood 2.7 per cent above levels reported for the same month last year and 5.7 per cent above the 10 year average for the month.
Sales were also up on a year-over-year basis in about half of all local markets, led by activity in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Greater Toronto Area and Montreal.