Housing Sales Increases for the Second Month in a Row

For the second month in a row, the Canadian housing market has recorded an increasing number of sales in most areas around the country.

                                             

"Conditions in the resale housing market have improved markedly this Spring," according to TREB President Maureen O'Neill. "Home purchases have increased as households have taken advantage of low interest rates and slightly lower home prices."

While April sales remained lower than last year, the housing market gained momentum on a month-over-month basis.

Paul Penner, President of the Fraser Valley real estate board, says current conditions have created one of the best buying opportunities in years. "REALTORS® have successfully communicated to their sellers to be more realistic with their prices, which is why we've seen a 29% increase in sales from March to April."

Penner also attributes the increase to all-time historically low interest rates and still relatively high inventory for Fraser Valley, although it is dropping rapidly.

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

British Columbia
Surrey, May 4, 2009: The Fraser Valley real estate market continued to show signs of rebalancing in April with the number of sales increasing for the third month in a row while the volume of available properties stayed constant. Benchmark prices for detached homes and condominiums also showed increases over the last three months.

In April, there were 1,293 sales processed on the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board's Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), reflecting a 28% decrease compared to the 1,787 sales in April of last year, however, a 29% increase over March sales. At the same time, the Board received 44% fewer new listings compared to one year ago, 2,477 in contrast to 4,458 in April 2008, helping to stabilize the number of active listings in the Fraser Valley at 9,855.

The Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price of Fraser Valley townhouses decreased 11.6% from $333,982 in April 2008 to $295,078 in April 2009. That decrease, however, slowed to 0.1% during the last three months. The benchmark price of apartments also decreased year-over-year by 11.4% going from $260,037 in April of last year to $230,337 in April 2009. Similar to detached homes, the benchmark price for apartments has increased by 4.4% over the last three months.

Ontario

Toronto, May 6, 2009: Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 8,107 sales in April, down 7% from April 2008. While April sales remained lower than last year, the housing market gained momentum on a month-over-month basis. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales in April, at 80,900, was up 26% from March and up two-thirds compared to January's ten-year low.

The average price for April transactions was $385,641, down 3% from last year.

Ottawa, May 5, 2009: Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,594 residential properties in April through the Board's Multiple Listing Service® system compared with 1,560 in April 2008, an increase of 2.2%. There were 1,162 sales in March 2009.

The average price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in April in the Ottawa area was $298,150, an increase of 1% over April 2008. The average price for a condominium-class property was $216,502, an increase of 2.8% over April 2008. The average price of a residential-class property was $318,900, an increase of 0.7% over April 2008.

Alberta

Calgary, May 1, 2009: Sales activity of single family Calgary metro homes was 1,290 in the month of April 2009, showing an increase of 19% from 1,086 sales in March 2009. This was a decrease of 5% from April 2008, when single family home sales were 1,363. The number of condominium sales for the month of April 2009 was 579, an increase of 30% from the 446 condominium transactions recorded in March 2009, and a decrease of 0.3% from April 2008, when 581 condominiums changed hands.

The average price of a single family Calgary metro home in April 2009 was $426,311, showing an increase of 1% from March 2009, when the average price was $420,354, and showing a decrease of 10% from April 2008, when the average price was $474,564. The average price of a Calgary metro condominium was $277,953, showing a 2% decrease from March 2009, when the average price was $284,056, and a decrease of 11% over last year, when the average price was $312,586. Average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods, or account for price differentials between geographical areas.

Saskatchewan

Saskatoon, May 1, 2009: April's real estate market continued to correct with fewer listings being taken easing higher than normal inventory levels. Saskatoon REALTORS® assisted 353 buyers to find their dream home, a decrease of15% from April 2008 when 413 units were sold.

REALTORS® placed 694 properties on the market in April, a decrease of 23% from 2008 when 896 homes were listed for sale. Buyers had 1499 properties to select from, down substantially from a market high of 1,748 homes for sale in September 2008.

The average selling price for April was $275,455, down from April 2008 when the average price was $306,031.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia, April 17, 2009: Though Nova Scotia's March real estate sales activity was down 15% from last March, it was still the highest level of housing sales activity in the province in five months, as reported by the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®. In January 2009, the year-over-year decline was 32%.

The value of all residential transactions recorded through the MLS® system in Nova Scotia totalled $130.5 million in March 2009, a 16% decrease from year-ago levels. The total value of all MLS® sales activity in Nova Scotia was $137.4 million, a year-over-year decline of 17% from March 2008.

The average price for MLS® home sales in Nova Scotia was down slightly in March 2009 compared to levels one year earlier. Edging down 1% from March 2008, the provincial average price for home sales was $188,651.

The MLS® average price rose by 1.6% in Halifax-Dartmouth, to $229,548. The small decrease in provincial average price was the result of fewer sales in this region, where homes are priced higher than in other markets across the province. Sales activity was down by 19% year-over-year in Halifax-Dartmouth, compared to the 15% provincial decline. This resulted in fewer transactions at the higher end of the price spectrum being included in the calculation of the provincial average price.

Source: Canada Realty News