18 May 2011

Canadian Home Sales Edge Down in April

OTTAWA, May 17th, 2011 – Statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), reveal that national resale housing activity softened in April when compared to March 2011.

The decline in April sales activity reflects changes to mortgage regulations that came into effect previously. As anticipated, the changes pulled forward some sales activity that would have otherwise occurred at a later date.

Seasonally adjusted national home sales activity was down 4.4 per cent in April 2011 compared to the previous month. As expected, declines were largest in some of Canada’s more expensive and active markets, including Toronto, Vancouver, and the Fraser Valley.

Changes to mortgage regulations and other transitory factors also boosted transactions in April last year at the expense of activity in subsequent months. This also contributed to a broadly based decline in sales activity in April 2011 compared to year-ago levels.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 14.7 per cent from levels reported last April.

“Although down nationally, sales activity in April this year compared to April last year was up in a number of local housing markets,” said Gary Morse, CREA’s President. “Housing market trends often evolve and diverge from national trends due to local factors, so buyers and sellers should consult their local REALTOR® to understand how the housing market is shaping up where they live.”

“Last April, several transitory factors artificially boosted sales.  This included the impending tightening of mortgage rules, speculation about higher interest rates and the looming introduction of the HST in some provinces.  This year, additional measures to tighten mortgage rules were implemented in March and the other transitory factors were absent,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “This makes it difficult to compare the two months in order to reliably gauge the impact of the latest round of mortgage rule changes.”

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

Further information can be found at: http://creastats.crea.ca/natl/

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