CREA house prices

Photo: BriYYZ/Flickr

The Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto housing markets continued to be the engine of price and sales growth in Canada in April. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the average sale price for an existing home in Canada rose 9.5 per cent, year-over-year, to $448,862 in April. Excluding the two major cities, the increase was much more modest at 3.4 per cent to $339,893.

It was also the third month in a row where Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto accounted for the biggest sale price increases, rising 8.5 and 8.43 per cent respectively. Fraser Valley, Victoria, and Vancouver Island recorded annual increases between 2.7 per cent and 4.0 per cent.

Calgary saw price growth slow in April, measuring a 2.21 per cent gain, the smallest increase in three years. Saskatoon and Ottawa stayed stable while Greater Montreal saw a small boost. Greater Moncton recorded a slight decrease while sale prices fell in Regina.

Among the different property types, two-storey single family homes remain a hot commodity: the average sale price was up 6.89 per cent, year-over-year. They were followed by one-storey houses at a 4.2 per cent increase and townhouses/row units at a 3.87 per cent increase. Condo apartments posted the smallest price growth in April at 2.6 per cent.

The MLS House Price Index was up 4.97 per cent on a year-over-year basis in April, in line with the 4.95 per cent rise in March.

The country saw a boost in spring buying activity as well.

“As expected, low mortgage interest rates and the onset of spring ushered many homebuyers off the sidelines, particularly in regions where winter was long and bitter,” said CREA President Pauline Aunger.

Nationwide, sales activity was up 2.3 per cent between in April over the previous month. Increases were recorded in two-thirds of the 18 metro markets, with the GTA, its Golden Horseshoe neighbours and Montreal leading growth.

“In recent years, the seasonal pattern for home sales and listings has become amplified in places where listings are in short supply relative to demand. This particularly stands out in and around Toronto. Sellers there have increasingly delayed listing their home until spring. Once listed, it sells fairly quickly,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist.

Year-over-year, actual sales activity was up 10 per cent. This was only one of three times that April sales topped 50,000 transactions. The Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Greater Toronto, and Montreal measured the highest growth in sales activity. However, about 70 per cent of the metros studied by CREA recorded sales increases over April 2014.

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