Housing markets on the Canadian Prairies saw multi-year highs in January thanks to a sustained decline in inventory, according to recent data from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
At national level, home sales increased by 2% monthly and 35.2% annually in January. Seasonally adjusted activity reached an annualized pace of 736,452 units, significantly above CREA’s most recent forecast of 583,635 home sales for 2021. Nationwide, new listings fell by 13.3%, pushing the aggregate benchmark price up by 1.9% monthly and 13.5% annually to settle around $669,000.
With widespread gains across the provincial market, Alberta posted a total of 4,045 sales in January, marking a 43.6% year-over-year increase and getting the market off to its best start since 2008.
New listings fell by 1.2% year over year, while active listings dropped by 22.9%. The average home price in Alberta in January, $418,697, was 12.3% higher than a year before.
“With more sales occurring in the higher price ranges and a greater share of detached activity, it is not a surprise to see prices post significant gains over last year’s levels,” said the Alberta Real Estate Association. “However, with recent reductions in supply relative to sales activity, we anticipate that some of the upward price momenta do reflect the outcome of tighter market conditions.”
The province’s sales activity intensified by 49% year-over-year in January, amounting to 919 transactions. New listings fell by around 5% during the same period and hovered 10% below the historical average.
The Saskatchewan Realtors Association attributed this to the substantial momentum built up over much of 2020.
“We haven’t seen a January like this since 2012,” said Chris Gbekorbu, economic analyst at the SRA. “Although it is only one month and another COVID-like event could slow things down again like it did last March and April, this strong start should help us be optimistic for 2021.”
Winnipeg led the charge in maintaining the province’s sustained housing strength, with sales growing by 28% annually and new listings dropping by 15% during the same time frame. Active listings in January fell by by 40% compared to the same month last year.
Total dollar volume spiked by 38%, soaring past $285 million, even as tight market supply conditions continue to dominate the market.
“One month does not make a year, but January is certainly a sign that buyers are eager to take advantage of historic low mortgage rates and some of the most affordable house prices in the country,” said Kourosh Doustshenas, president of the WRREB. “Strong demand so early in the year should give those looking to list their property confidence to begin planning now to have a successful outcome in 2021.”