According to statistics released by CREA – The Canadian Real Estate Association – housing resale activity rose in March 2012 compared to the same month a year ago. The increase stood at 1.6% vs. March 2011, the smallest year-over-year increase since April 2011. It reflects moderate gains in a number of major centres, including Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City. Increases in these housing markets offset larger declines in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, where activity last year ran at unusually strong levels.
Other highlights include:
- Home sales rose 2.5% from February to March, up in two-thirds of all local markets, with Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton contributing most to the national increase
- The number of newly listed homes eased 0.3% from February to March
- While still well balanced, the national housing market tightened due to the rise in activity
- The national average home price of $369,677 edged down 0.5% on a year-over-year basis in March. The national average price was skewed higher last spring by record level high-end home sales in some of Vancouver’s priciest neighbourhoods. It was expected that this would not recur this spring, which the latest sales figures confirm.
- A total of 108,373 homes traded hands in the first three months of the year. This is 5.0 per cent above the five-year average for first quarter sales, 3.8 per cent above the 10-year average, and 4.4 per cent above activity in the first quarter of 2011
- The national sales-to-new listings ratio, a measure of market balance, stood at 55.1 per cent in March. This is up from 53.6 per cent in February. Based on a ratio of between 40 and 60 per cent, more than half of local markets were balanced in March
- The number of months of inventory stood at 5.7 at the end of March on a national basis, down slightly from 5.8 months in February. The number of months of inventory represents the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, and is another measure of the balance between housing supply and demand
“The spring housing market is off to a good start,” CREA president Wayne Moen said. “The number of sales and newly listed properties are up from levels last year, and the vast majority of housing markets remain balanced.”