Photo: Adam Jones/Flickr
Canada’s most expensive housing markets didn’t cool off in February according to data released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
The Aggregate Composite MLS Home Price Index in the Greater Toronto Area saw year-over-year sales price growth of 7.84 per cent, the highest in country. It was followed by Greater Vancouver, where the index rose 6.38 per cent. Although Calgary experienced a 5.96 per cent increase, it was the smallest increase since December 2012.
Other major markets saw less dramatic gains with the Fraser Valley, Victoria, and Vancouver Island experiencing increases between 2 and 2.5 per cent. Prices remained steady in Saskatoon, Ottawa, and Greater Montreal, and declined in Regina and Greater Moncton.
Altogether, the index rose by 5.01 per cent in February compared to the same time last year.
Across Canada, the actual national average price for homes sold in February was $431,812, up 6.3 per cent from last year. However, if Toronto and Vancouver are excluded from the calculation, the average sales price was much more modest at $326,910, a 1.5 per cent rise over 2014.
Why are these big cities still experiencing sharp price growth? According the latest numbers, demand remained high.
The number of newly listed homes fell 2.5 per cent in February compared to the month before. Altogether, the national sales-to-new listings ratio was 52.2 per cent in February, compared to 50.4 per cent in January.
National home sales via MLS rose 1 per cent between January to February. The number of sales in February was up 2.7 per cent over 2014, but sales activity was still 5 per cent lower than the 10-year average for the month.
“Sales came in below the ten-year average for the month of February in two-thirds of all local markets,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “That said, the opposite was true in a few large urban markets in British Columbia and Ontario despite a shortage of listings there, which is fuelling prices higher.”