15 February 2012

Canadian Home Sales Pull Back in January

OTTAWA – February 15, 2012 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national resale housing activity retreated in January 2012 from the strong finish reported for December 2011.

Highlights:

  • Home sales were down 4.5% from December to January.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity came in 4.0% above levels in January 2011, and stood even with the 5 and 10 year averages for January sales.
  • The number of newly listed homes edged down 1.4% from December to January.
  • With sales down by more than new listings, the national market shifted further into balanced territory.
  • The national average home price was up less than 2% year-over-year in January, ranking it among the smallest increases of the past year.

“The national housing market is stabilizing and remains well balanced,” said Gary Morse, CREA’s President. “That said, forecasts for economic and job growth going forward vary widely for different parts of the country, suggesting a possible continuation of a softening trend in some markets, as well as the potential that demand will pick up based on strong fundamentals in others. All real estate is local, so talk to your local REALTOR® to understand how price trends in your neighbourhood are shaping up.”

 “Year-over-year comparisons in the national average price are expected to become volatile and may turn negative, reflecting average price developments in the first half of 2011 in Vancouver,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist.

“At that time, high-end home sales in Vancouver’s priciest neighbourhoods surged to all-time record levels, which skewed the national average price upward considerably. A replay of this phenomenon is not expected this year.

As a result, comparisons for national average price to year-ago levels over the coming months will reflect an upwardly skewed base effect. For this reason, year-over-year comparisons should be kept in perspective. Developments in the MLS® HPI will provide important guidance on price trends, since it is not affected by the problem of compositional shifts in the mix of sales activity.”

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