The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said Friday that housing sales have been flat since changes were made to mortgage lending rules and guidelines last August.
Almost 80 per cent of local markets posted year-over-year declines in sales activity last month, the most notable exception being Edmonton, CREA said.
“A rebound in sales in some of Canada’s largest and most expensive markets, similar to those we saw following previous mortgage rule changes, has so far remained elusive,” stated CREA President Wayne Moen in a news release.
“That said, the slowdown in many big markets is being offset by activity in many smaller and more affordable markets that were less impacted by last year’s mortgage rule changes,” he continued.
Sale price decline: Blame Vancouver
So, while there was a one per cent drop in the average sale price, CREA’s says if you take Greater Vancouver out of the equation – a region that accounts for less than six per cent of national activity — the national average would have actually increase by 1.3 per cent in February.
The number of newly listed homes fell 1.2 per cent month-over-month in February, leaving them at their lowest level since November 2010. New listings were down in about 60 per cent of local markets in February, with the largest declines reported in Greater Toronto, Montreal, Greater Vancouver, and Saskatoon.
Expectations going forward
CREA also downgraded their 2013 forecast. The association now expects sales activity to reach 441,500 units in 2013, a 2.9 per cent decline from 2012.
Alberta and Manitoba are the only provinces where sales are expected to rise in 2013, albeit modestly. Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia are expected to see declines in year-over-year sales that are greater than the national average, while the year-over-year decline in British Columbia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador is forecast to be below the national average.
CREA also cut its forecast for the national average home price for 2013, which it now expects will be $362,600, down 0.2 per cent from last year.
“While largely flat at the national level, gains in excess of inflation are still expected in the Prairies and in Newfoundland. British Columbia, Ontario, and New Brunswick are forecast to record declines in their provincial average prices this year,” CREA said.