Market Watch - February 2010 Sales Start Off Strong in 2010

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The Canadian housing market has rebounded well from the lows in sales experienced at the beginning of 2009. Sales climbed back to healthy levels across the country because the cost of home ownership remained affordable in most areas.

Compared to last January, the market has returned to balance. Increasingly confident consumers moved to take advantage of the affordability created by lower interest rates.

“Expect strong annual growth rates for existing home sales and average price through the first quarter as we continue to make comparisons to the weak market conditions at the beginning of 2009,” said Jason Mercer, Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “The rate of sales and price growth will be lower in the second half of 2010.”

Below is a brief summary of sales activities in some areas across the country:

Alberta - Affordability continues to drive a recovery in the housing market

Calgary, February 1, 2010 – The number of single family homes sold in January 2010 in the city of Calgary was up 39% from the same time a year ago, while condominiums sales saw an increase of 67% from the same time a year ago.

Low mortgage rates and earlier price reductions have improved the affordability of home ownership for Calgarians,” says Diane Scott, newly elected president of the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®). “For the time being average home prices are more in line with average incomes. A narrowing gap between the costs of renting versus owning a home will attract more first time home buyers into the market in 2010,” adds Scott.

January 2010 saw 762 single family homes sold in the city of Calgary. This is a decrease of 5% from 799 sales in December 2009. In January 2009, single family home sales totaled 550. The number of condominium sales for the month of January 2010 was 376. This was an increase of 10% from the 341 condominium transactions recorded in December 2009. In January 2009, condominium sales were 225.

The average price of a single family home was $441,217, showing a decrease of 2% from December 2009, and an increase of 7% from January 2009, when the average price was $413,049. The average price of a condominium in the city of Calgary was $282,639, showing a 2% decrease from December 2009, and a 4% increase over last year, when the average price was $270,940.

“Affordability is the silver lining in Calgary’s housing market. Even in the face of slowing wage growth—we can see affordability has improved. Higher prices in 2007 and 2008 left the average family with a maximum buying power of $250,000—while average single family prices pushed well into the $450,000 range. Lower interest rates have enabled these same families to now look at homes in the $350,000 to $375,000 range—closer to average market prices,” says Scott.

British Columbia – Home sales moderate in January

Vancouver, February 11, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province climbed 118% to 4,619 units in January compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MLS® residential sales in the province declined 16% last month compared to December 2009.

Home sales in the province eased in January as a result of waning pent-up demand and eroded affordability,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “While low mortgage interest rates will continue to entice many home buyers through the spring market, consumer demand is expected to moderate from its frenetic year-end pace."

The BC residential sales dollar volume increased 160% to $2.27 billion in January compared to the same period last year. The average MLS® residential price climbed 19% to $491,571 over the same period.

"Upward pressure on home prices, particularly in Victoria, Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, is beginning to slow as fewer home sales and a larger inventory reduce the chance of multiple offers,” added Muir.

Ontario - Sales start off strong in 2010

Toronto, February 3, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,986 transactions through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in January 2010. This result represented a large increase over the 2,670 sales in January 2009 when home sales were in a recessionary trough. Last month’s sales were slightly higher than the January average in the five years preceding 2009.

“The GTA housing market has rebounded well from the lows in sales experienced at the beginning of 2009. Sales climbed back to healthy levels across the GTA because the cost of home ownership remained affordable in the Toronto area,” said TREB President Tom Lebour. “Increasingly confident consumers moved to take advantage of affordable home ownership.”

The average home selling price in January 2010 climbed 19% to $409,058, compared to 343,632 in the same month last year.

Ottawa, February 3, 2010 - Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 713 residential properties in January through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system compared with 529 in January 2009, an increase of 34.8%.

Of those sales, 156 were in the condominium property class, while 557 were in the residential property class.

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in January in the Ottawa area was $320,966, an increase of 11.4% over January 2009. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $259,273, an increase of 22.5% over January 2009. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $338,244, an increase of 8.2% over January 2009.

Hamilton, February 4, 2010 – The Greater Hamilton-Burlington area resale market reported a total of 750 units sold in January, indicating an increase of 58% over the same month last year, but a 3% decrease from December 2009.

“January sales certainly returned to more normal January levels,” said Joe Ferrante, The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) President. “The unexpectedly strong market in December of 2009 was a hard act to follow, but the market held reasonably steady for the first month of the year.”

Residential properties sold during January totaled 714 which included 574 freehold properties and 140 condominiums.

The average price of freehold residential properties sold in the month of January was $302,474, an increase of 10% over the same month last year, and 1.25% over last month. In the condominium market the average price of condominiums in January was $230,583, an increase of 10% from January 2009, but a decrease of 4.5% from last month.

January’s total residential average sales price of $288,397 showed an increase of almost 9% over the same month in 2009, and an increase of almost 1% over December 2009.

“While the January market performed at levels that are more normal, we are looking forward with caution, as there is still a great deal of economic uncertainty surrounding us,” added Ferrante. Unit sales reflect “all property types” including residential, condominiums, commercial property, farmland and sale of businesses.

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Information in this report is collected from the Real Estate Boards operating in each area. The average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The average price is calculated based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold.

 

Canada Realty News Newsletter

February 2010

Julie D. Martin

Julie D. Martin

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Home Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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