National resale housing market activity returned to pre-recession levels in May 2009. The rebound in activity is being led by an increase in transactions in some of the most expensive markets in the country, which is skewing the national average price upward.
According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), actual (not seasonally adjusted) home sales via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) of Canadian real estate boards totaled 49,521 units in May 2009. This is less than one per cent below activity in the same month one year ago. Year-over-year declines have been shrinking since the beginning of the year.
According to Gary Zalepa Jr. Broker for the local CENTURY21 office, this is true for Niagara-on-the-Lake. Residential sales figures in May 2009 returned to and surpassed the 2008 levels. Prior to May sales figures have lagged behind those of 2008. The average sales price for the last 12 month period is almost identicle to that a year ago at just over $400,000.
"This increase in sales along with the decrease in the number of new listings could shift us back into more of a sellers market. We are seeing evidence of this in the price range just below the median price range," says Zalepa, "Home sellers in the 350,000 or less range should find a renewed interest in that market."
"Sales activity is now closer to the pre-recession peak than it is to the recent low point reached last January," says Regina Broker Dale Ripplinger, President of The Canadian Real Estate Association. "Strengthening consumer confidence, low interest rates, and improved affordability are drawing buyers to the housing market across Canada," he added.
"Fueled by a string of monthly increases in activity, the number of transactions in May reached the highest point since July 2008," said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. "Inventory levels are still high in many markets, but fewer new listings and rising sales activity suggests that the selection of homes available for sale may shrink as the year progresses. The supply of homes up for sale needs to be drawn down further before average price increases become more widespread among local markets."