Canadian home sales rebound in October

According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales increased in October 2015 from the previous month.


  • National home sales rose by 1.8% from September to October.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was little changed (+0.1%) compared to October 2014.
  • The number of newly listed homes was up 0.9% from September to October.
  • The Canadian housing market remains balanced overall.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 6.7% year-over-year in October.
  • The national average sale price rose 8.3% on a year-over-year basis in October; excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, it increased by 2.5%.

The number of homes trading hands via MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations rose by 1.8 percent in October 2015 compared to September. As a result, national activity stood near the peak recorded earlier this year and reached the second-highest monthly level in almost six years.

There was an even split between the number of markets where sales posted a monthly increase and those where sales declined. The national increase was driven by monthly sales gains in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia together with the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and surrounding areas, led by the York Region, Central Toronto, and Hamilton-Burlington.

“The continuation of low interest rates is supporting home sales activity,” said CREA President Pauline Aunger. “Even so, the strength of sales activity varies by location and price segment across Canada. All real estate is local, and REALTORS® remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future.”

“October extended resale housing market trends of recent months,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Single detached homes continue to be in short supply while demand for them remains strong in a number of active and populous housing markets in British Columbia and Ontario. Meanwhile, an ample supply of condo apartments remains. The balance between supply and demand is generally tighter for single detached homes than it is for condo apartments and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. For that reason, price gains for single detached homes should continue to outstrip those for condo apartment units for some time.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales in October 2015 were little changed (+0.1 percent) from activity one year ago, when it reached the second-highest level on record for the month.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales were up from year-ago levels in half of all local markets, led by the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, the GTA and Montreal. Gains there were largely offset by a drop in activity in the Calgary region, where sales were down considerably from the record set last year for transactions during the month of October.

The number of newly listed homes edged up 0.9 percent in October compared to September, led by the Lower Mainland, Victoria and the GTA. These gains were balanced by a pullback in new supply in the Okanagan Region, Edmonton and Ottawa.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 57.9 percent in October, which indicates that the balance between supply and demand tightened. A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 percent is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings below and above this range indicating buyers’ and sellers’ markets respectively.

The ratio was within this range in slightly fewer than half of all local housing markets in October. Of the remainder, an almost equal number breached the 60 percent threshold in October, nearly all of which are located in British Columbia and Ontario.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 5.5 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of October 2015, down from the 5.7 months recorded in September. As with the sales-to-new listings ratio, the October reading for months of inventory points to the tightest housing market conditions at the national level in almost six years.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 6.70 percent on a year-over-year basis in October, marking a slightly more modest increase compared to the increase in September (6.90 percent).

Year-over-year price growth slowed in in October for one and two-storey single family homes, but picked up for townhouse/row and apartment units.

Two-storey single family homes continue to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+8.67 percent), followed by one-storey single family homes (+6.02 percent), townhouse/row units (+4.88 percent) and apartment units (+4.39 percent).

Year-over-year price growth varied among housing markets tracked by the index. Greater Vancouver (+15.33 percent) and Greater Toronto (+10.33 percent) continue to post double-digit year-over-year price increases. Meanwhile, price gains in the Fraser Valley have accelerated to 10.51 percent.

By comparison, Victoria and Vancouver Island prices saw year-over-year gains that ranged between five percent and seven percent in October.

Prices in Calgary edged down by about one percent on a year-over-year basis in October and slipped lower by about one-and-a-half percent in Saskatoon. Prices also fell by a little over four percent in Regina, extending year-over-year price declines there that began in 2013.

Prices in Ottawa remained stable compared to those one year ago and were up from October 2014 levels in Greater Montreal (+1.42 percent) and Greater Moncton (+3.84 percent). (Table 1)

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends than is possible using averages because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in October 2015 was $454,976, up 8.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.

The national average price continues to be pulled upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. If these two markets are excluded from calculations, the average is a more modest $339,059 and the year-over-year gain is reduced to 2.5 percent.

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