CREA home sales

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Existing home sales in Canada fell 3.1 per cent between December and January according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), with 60 per cent of markets reporting a monthly drop. Oil provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan experienced the sharpest declines while across the country, the Maritime provinces saw a boost in sales activity.

There was also a two per cent drop in sales compared to January 2014 but the year-over-year decline was in large part due to less activity in Prairie cities.

“The decline in national sales largely reflects weakened activity in Calgary and Edmonton. If these two markets are removed from national totals, combined sales activity remained 1.9 per cent above year-ago levels,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist.

Inventory levels also rose countrywide with CREA reporting a 0.7 per cent increase in listings between December and January. Coupled with the decline in sales, the national sales-to-new listings ratio slipped to 49.7 per cent. This is the first time the ratio has fallen below 50 per cent since December 2012. There were regional differences in supply with the biggest increases in inventory seen in Edmonton and the GTA while buying conditions remained tight in Greater Vancouver, Calgary and Regina.

According to CREA, there were 6.5 months of inventory nationally at the end of January 2015, the highest reading since April 2013.

Though inventory edged up and sales slipped, prices continued to climb in January with the Aggregate Composite MLS House Price Index rising 5.17 per cent, year-over-year.

Among the major cities, Calgary counted the biggest year-over-year increase at 7.76 per cent, followed by the GTA (7.47 per cent) and Greater Vancouver (5.53 per cent). Despite the fact that Calgary led the other major markets in price growth in January, CREA notes that “the trend for prices in Calgary has been fairly stable since last summer.” Though Calgary is still seeing a boost in sales prices, it’s lower than it has been: in November the year-over-year increase was 8.53 per cent and it was 9.5 per cent in October.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales price for an existing home in Canada rose 3.1 per cent in January to $401,143. This was the smallest increase since April 2013.

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