Things are picking up in the Canadian housing market.
Home sales in April had the first year-over-year increase since December 2017, rising by 4.2 per cent, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said on Wednesday. This is significant considering sales hit a seven-year low in April 2018.
The data shows that sales are bouncing back following February’s numbers, which dipped to its lowest levels since 2012. While March saw a minor increase of 0.9 per cent month-over-month, April climbed by 3.6 per cent.
“The increase reflects gains in the [Greater Toronto Area] and Montreal that outweighed declines in the B.C. lower mainland,” CREA noted.
In comparison, the national benchmark price in April was $494,978, which is a 0.3 per cent increase from one year earlier. But if two of the most expensive markets are eliminated — the GTA and Greater Vancouver — that benchmark drops to $391,000.
April’s home sales suggest the Canadian market is recovering. “Sales activity is stabilizing among Canada’s five most active urban housing markets,” said CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump.
However, Greater Vancouver is the exception as it is “well into buyers’ market territory.”
“Sales there are still trending lower as buyers adjust to a cocktail of housing affordability challenges, reduced access to financing due to the mortgage stress-test and housing policy changes implemented by British Columbia’s provincial government,” Klump said.
The Vancouver market is starting to soften with prices declining by 0.3 per cent in April. On a larger scale, prices have dropped by 8.5 per cent in the last 12 months.