A whole year of housing data is a lot to sift through, but for the last 12 months Canadian economists have kept busy crunching numbers.
Often, they’ve presented their analysis in the form of easily understandable charts, and Livabl has rounded up eight that, taken together, tell the story of Canada’s housing market in 2018.
1. 2018 is expected to be the worst year for Canadian home sales since 2010
What’s going on here: The Canadian Real Estate Association charts national home sales dating back to 2000.
The takeaway: While sales are only projected to edge down 0.5 percent this year, that’s enough to put them at the lowest level since 2010.
2. These are the top performing Canadian housing markets of 2018
What’s going on here: BMO compares year-to-date sales and prices across nine local Canadian housing markets.
The takeaway: When it comes to home-price gains, Montreal is the runaway winner with prices up 5.5 percent through 11 months.
3. Canadian housing affordability is the worst since 1990 as buyers feel the pinch from the stress test
What’s going on here: In its third-quarter affordability analysis, RBC looked at how much stress testing (as well as price changes, taxes, and utilities) accounted for annual increases to the qualifying income needed to buy a typical home in major markets.
The takeaway: All markets were impacted, but some felt the rule change to a greater extent. Take Saskatoon, for instance — more than half the increase to the minimum qualifying income can be chalked up to the stress test, which more than offset the benefits of lower home prices.
4. Canada’s appetite for mortgage debt doesn’t signal another housing crash
What’s going on here: National Bank shows what share of Canadian households’ disposable is going towards debt servicing, including both capital payments and interest payments.
The takeaway: While Canadian households are using more of their disposable income to pay off debt than they were during the 1990s market crash, these days a much higher share of those payments is going towards building equity rather than interest.
5. These 5 local Canadian housing markets are peaking in late-2018
What’s going on here: National Bank demonstrates how far home prices have fallen in scores of Canadian housing markets — with a few exceptions.
The takeaway: Even though the Canadian market is largely cooling, five cities have never seen higher prices: Kingston, Kitchener, Montreal, St. Catharines, and Windsor.
6. The Canadian housing market slowdown isn’t over yet
What’s going on here: CIBC tracks home sales activity in two of Canada’s biggest housing markets before and after the federal government introduced expanded mortgage stress testing in January via the B20 guidelines.
The takeaway: Vancouver hasn’t seen sales rebound yet. As one of the country’s largest markets, the implications are national and may discourage the Bank of Canada from hiking rates next year as planned.
7. According to this measure, Canada’s housing market is still balanced
What’s going on here: RBC presents CREA’s sales-to-new listings ratio dating back to 2004. Typically, a ratio between 40 to 60 percent suggests a balanced market, with anything above favouring sellers and anything below favouring buyers.
The takeaway: While the ratio has been moving towards sellers’ territory, as of November, it was still balanced at 54.8 percent.
8. Condo and townhome price gains are slowing
What’s going on here: Scotiabank compares how prices for Canadian condo apartments, townhomes and single-family homes have performed this year (and in 2017 and 2016).
The takeaway: The fact that condos and townhomes have been the last affordable options for many homebuyers in Canada’s biggest markets has pushed prices higher as competition for these units has been strong. But with price gains in these segments converging with the low-rise market, it appears they may have run out of steam.