January bore witness to the slowest country-wide sales cycle since 2015, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Nationally, transactions declined 4% over January 2018, with 23,968 sales going through the Multiple Listing Service this year. Last January—the beginning of a chill that permeated housing markets across Canada—there were 24,977 sales.
The national sale price for all housing types sold last month was $455,000, which fell 5.5% over January 2018, marking the most significant year-over-year decline since May 2018.
However, the MLS Home Price Index was up 0.8% year-over-year, but that is also the smallest boost since May 2018.
The price index in the Greater Vancouver Area dropped 4.5% year-over-year, although it was up 4.2% in Victoria and a staggering 9.3% elsewhere on Vancouver Island.
In the Greater Toronto Area, the price index increased 2.7%, and in Greater Montreal—Canada’s strongest major real estate market—the index shot up 6.3%. Those numbers are in stark contrast to Saskatoon, where there was a 2% dip, Calgary where there was a 3.9% decline, and Edmonton where the drop was 2.9%.
“Sales, market balance and home price trends are out of synch among major Canadian cities that have the greatest impact on national results,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. “It’s clear that housing market conditions remain weaker in the Prairie region and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Notwithstanding the intended consequences, tighter mortgage regulations that took effect in 2018 combined with previous tightening will weigh on economic growth this year.”
Sales were higher than new listings, with the sales-to-listings ratio up to 56.7% in January over 55.3% a month earlier.
There were 5.3 months of inventory on a national scale by the conclusion of January 2019, according to CREA, and that is in line with its long-term average. However, the well-balanced national reading disguises considerable differences by region, beginning with the Prairie provinces’ billowed inventory, with months’ worth. The same holds true for Newfoundland and Labrador. Contrarily, Ontario and Prince Edward Island are below their long-term averages.