TORONTO – An unusually hot January for GTA real estate sales played a major role in what the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has revealed to be a modest nationwide increase in existing-home sales activity for the same month.
According to new data released by the association on February 16, January’s national home sales were up by 0.5 per cent over the previous December’s total. According to the report, sales declines in Calgary, Edmonton, and the Okanagan Region were offset by substantial sales increases in not only the GTA, but in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.
“Single family home buyers in the GTA and Lower Mainland of British Columbia had been expected to bring forward their purchase decisions before tightened mortgage regulations take effect in February 2016,” explained CREA president Pauline Aunger.
Arguably even more impressive was January’s national average sale price for homes*, which was up to $470,297, reflecting a substantial 17 per cent year-over-year increase. CREA reports that the surge was due largely to skyrocketing prices in key markets of British Columbia and Ontario.
In fact, if both of those provinces were removed from the calculation, the average home price would have slipped to $286,911 — reflecting a year-over-year average price decline of 0.3 per cent.
While the GTA indisputably led Ontario in year-over-year price increases for January with its 10.69 per cent gain, the Ottawa market also experienced an average price boost of 1.1 per cent.
Nationwide, the number of new listings for the month fell by 4.9 per cent from the total for December, driving the ratio of sales to new listings upwards to 49.2 per cent — reflecting a supply shortage that, according to CREA’s analysts, was felt most strongly in urban Ontario and British Columbia.
“January 2016 picked up where 2015 left off, with single-family homes in the (Greater Toronto Area) and Greater Vancouver in short supply amid strong demand,” noted CREA chief economist Gregory Klump in an interview with Reuters.
*Actual (not seasonally adjusted).