Consumer confidence ends on a stronger footing

National consumer confidence ended the year 2009 on a stronger footing compared to pre-recession levels, despite having edged down slightly the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter. According to the Conference Board of Canada’s index of consumer confidence, confidence eased slightly in the fourth quarter for the first time in three quarterly periods. The decrease in confidence reflects weakening sentiment about making major purchases.

The balance of sentiment about making major purchases, such as a home or a car, dipped slightly into negative territory in the fourth quarter. It had turned positive in the third quarter for the first time since the first quarter of 2008.

A negative balance of sentiment means more survey respondents said it was a bad time to buy a big-ticket item, such as a home or car, than said it was a good time to do so. This indicator is an important factor underlying the housing market.

The balance of sentiment about job growth prospects continued improving in the fourth quarter of 2008, staying positive for the second consecutive quarter. More survey respondents expect employment to pick up over the next six months, and fewer expect more layoffs.

The balance of sentiment about households’ budgetary outlook softened marginally in the fourth quarter, but remains upbeat. A positive balance of opinion means more households said they expect their household budget to improve in the next six months than said they think it will worsen.

British Columbia
Consumer confidence in British Columbia eased slightly in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s index of consumer confidence. Moderating confidence in the fourth quarter reflects softening sentiment about households’ budgetary outlooks, job prospects, and major purchases.

The balance of sentiment about making a major purchase, such as a home or a car, fell sharply and again turned negative in the fourth quarter. It had turned positive in the third quarter for the first time in two years.

A negative balance of opinion means more survey respondents said that it was a bad time to buy a big-ticket item, such as a home or car, than said it was a good time to do so. This indicator is an important factor underlying the housing market.

Sentiment about job growth prospects deteriorated in the fourth quarter. Although the balance of sentiment about near term job growth remained negative for the seventh consecutive quarter, it remained significantly less negative compared to where it stood at the height of the economic recession.

The balance of sentiment about households’ budgetary outlook stayed upbeat for the third consecutive quarter.

Prairie region
Consumer sentiment in the Prairie region improved for the third consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter of 2009, returning to the pre-recession level recorded in the second quarter of 2008.

Sentiment about making major purchases, such as a home or a car, improved for the fourth consecutive quarter. The balance of sentiment about making major purchases has stayed positive for two consecutive quarters, returning to levels on par with the third quarter of 2007.

A positive balance of sentiment means more survey respondents said it was a good time to buy a big-ticket item, such as a home or car, than said it was a bad time to do so. This indicator is an important factor underlying the housing market.

Sentiment about job growth prospects continued improving, building on significant increases recorded in the previous two quarters. The balance of opinion about job growth has stayed positive for three consecutive quarters, and is also back on par with pre-recession levels.

The balance of sentiment about the outlook for household budgets edged down only marginally in the fourth quarter on 2009 compared to the previous quarter.

Ontario
Consumer confidence in Ontario dipped slightly in the fourth quarter of 2009 after having risen in each of the three previous quarters, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s index of consumer confidence. The slight decline in confidence reflects weakened sentiment about households’ budgetary outlooks and about making major purchases.

The balance of sentiment about making major purchases, such as a home or a car, turned negative in the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, it had turned positive for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2007.

A negative balance of opinion means more households said it was a bad time to buy a big-ticket item, such as a home or car, than said it was a good time to do so. This is an important factor underlying the housing market.

The balance of sentiment about job growth prospects improved compared to the previous quarter, turning positive for the first time since the second quarter of 2006.

The balance of sentiment about the outlook for household budgets stayed positive for the third consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter of 2009, despite having softened slightly.

Quebec
Consumer confidence in Quebec eased in the fourth quarter of 2009 but remains well above levels recorded at the height of the economic recession, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s index of consumer confidence. The decrease in confidence reflects weaker sentiment about household budgets and about making major purchases.

Despite having softened compared to the previous quarter, the balance of sentiment about making major purchases, such as a home or a car, remained positive in the fourth quarter. This represents the third consecutive quarter in which the balance of sentiment about making major purchases stayed positive.

A positive balance of opinion means more households said it was a good time to buy a big-ticket item, such as a home or car, than said it was a bad time to do so. This indicator is an important factor underlying the housing market.

The balance of sentiment about job growth prospects turned positive for the first time since the beginning of 2008.

The balance of sentiment about the outlook for household budgets for the next six months eased in the fourth quarter, but nevertheless remained positive.

Atlantic region
Consumer sentiment improved significantly in the fourth quarter of 2009, continuing its rise above pre-recession levels according to the Conference Board of Canada’s index of consumer confidence for the region. This marked the fourth consecutive increase in confidence.

Sentiment about making major purchases, such as a home or a car, held steady. The balance of sentiment about big-ticket purchases remained positive for the second consecutive quarter.

A positive balance of sentiment means more survey respondents said it was a good time to buy a big-ticket item, such as a home or car, than said it was a bad time to do so. This indicator is an important factor underlying the housing market.

After improving for a fourth consecutive quarter, the balance of sentiment about job growth became positive in the fourth quarter of 2009. This is its first positive reading since the second quarter of 2008.

The balance of sentiment about the outlook for household budgets over the next six months also improved in the fourth quarter. This marks the fourth consecutive quarter in which the balance of sentiment about the outlook for household budgets stayed upbeat.

(CREA 11/22/09)

Existing home sales activity remains strong in NovemberPublished December 15, 2009 1 Leave a Comment
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According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association, existing home sales activity remained upbeat in November 2009. The current strength of housing demand stands in sharp contrast to weak activity recorded one year ago.

A total of 36,383 residential properties traded hands via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) of Canadian real estate boards in November 2009. Up 73 per cent from year-ago levels, activity was down just four tenths of a per cent from the highest level of activity for the month posted in November 2007. Home sales set new records for the month of November in Ontario and Quebec.

“National home sales activity last month shows how strongly the housing market has rebounded since the beginning of the year,’ said CREA President Dale Ripplinger. “As we predicted last April, the rebound in resale housing activity led the overall Canadian economy out of recession.”

The unprecedented year-over-year gain in activity underscores the extent to which demand has recovered from one year ago, when news of the global financial crisis hammered consumer confidence. Year-over-year gains were biggest in British Columbia (165 per cent) and Ontario (77 per cent).

Since the beginning of 2009, some 437,507 homes have been sold through Canadian MLS® Systems. This is up five per cent from activity in the first 11 months of 2008, but below levels for the period in each of the previous three years.

The national residential average price was $337,231 in November, a gain of 19 per cent compared to one year ago. For the year-to-date, the average price is up 4.4 per cent compared to the same period last year. The year-over-year increase in November continues to reflect the high degree to which the average was skewed downward last year by plummeting activity in Canada’s priciest markets, and then upward by rebounding activity. Average price in November edged back from the peak reached in October.

The price trend is similar but less dramatic for the national MLS® weighted average price, which compensates for changes in provincial sales activity by taking into account provincial proportions of privately owned housing stock. The weighted average price climbed 13 per cent on a year-over-year basis in November. This is a smaller increase compared to the year-over-year gain of 14 per cent recorded the previous month.

The residential average price in Canada’s major markets was up 20 per cent year-over-year to $368,665. As with the national counterpart, the price trend is similar but less dramatic for the major market weighted average price which rose 11 per cent from last November.

The return of strong demand and headline average price gains is beginning to draw more sellers back to the market. Seasonally adjusted new listings coming onto Boards’ MLS® Systems across Canada rose five per cent on a month-over-month basis in November to 69,110 units. This is the biggest monthly increase since January 2008.

Despite the uptick in new listings, the sharp rise in resale housing demand continues to draw down inventories. There were 183,710 homes listed for sale on Boards’ MLS® Systems in Canada at the end of November 2009. This is down 23 per cent from levels reported one year ago, and the seventh month in a row in which inventories have declined from year-ago levels.

Nationally, there were four months of inventory in November 2009 on a seasonally adjusted basis, the lowest level in more than two years. The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of months of inventory in November 2009 stood at five months, up slightly from the previous month (4.6 months). An increase is normal at this time of year, since demand tends to ease relative to supply over autumn and winter months. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

“The latest batch of seasonally adjusted statistics may reflect distortions in the seasonal adjustment procedure due to an extraordinarily weak housing market one year ago,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “Deteriorating housing affordability will reign in sales activity as the overall economy further improves and the pool of buyers who qualify for financing shrinks.”

http://www.crea.ca/public/news_stats/pdfs/Nov09_e.pdf

(CREA 11/15/09)

Paige Gregson

Paige Gregson

REALTORĀ®
CENTURY 21 Executives Realty Ltd.
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