March 17, 2009

All of Canada is waking from hibernation, as sales were more brisk across the entire country; 28,669 homes changed hands in February, which is an increase of about 9% over January levels, according to data released from the Canadian Real Estate Association. This marks the first monthly increase in activity since September of last year.

Monthly seasonal increases were the largest in British Columbia, with a rise of 14.4 per cent, followed by Nova Scotia at 12.7 per cent and Alberta at 11.9 per cent. Ontario and Quebec saw increases on par with the national average.

Nationally, unit sales dropped 30% in February compared to one year ago, and average prices were 8% lower at $308,142.

CREA president Calvin Lindberg pointed out it’s normal for sales to pick up as spring approaches. He says, “And this year, there are the benefits from historically low mortgage rates and improved affordability in most markets.” Sales tend to pick up after January and to gradually increase until June and the start of the summer holiday season.

But despite the seasonal uptick, sales are still significantly lower than one year ago, even though mortgage rates are decreasing and homes are cheaper than in 2008.

Looks like the buyers market won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

Further reading:

Real estate market blossoms” (, March 17 2009) 

Calgary real estate wakes up from long winter slumber” (Calgary Sun, March 16 2009)

Canada’s February Home Sales Rise as Prices Decline” (Bloomberg, March 16 2009)

Resale home numbers up in February: real estate association” (CBC News, March 16, 2009)

Home sales fall 31 per cent” (National Post, March 16 2009)

Home sales plunge 31% in February” (Toronto Star, March 16 2009)

Resale home prices fall 9.2 per cent in Feb., but sales up first time since Sept.” (The Canadian Press, March 16 2009)

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