January Real Estate Trends

Canada real estate trends indicate fewer homes traded hands in January 2020 when compared to the previous month. Despite the month-over-month decline, January 2020 experienced the best sales figures for the month in 12 years, as reported by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

Month-Over-Month

Between December 2019 and January 2020, home sales in Canada fell by 2.9 per cent, “although they remain among the stronger monthly readings of the last few years,” CREA says in its latest market report. The month-over-month decline in national sales was heavily skewed by an 18-per-cent drop in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. At the local level, CREA’s data reveals that transactions were down in slightly more than half of all markets from December to January.

The number of new listings remained relatively steady in January, with an increase of just 0.2 per cent. Of the markets that saw home sales increase, CREA notes few of them experienced any notable gains, with a housing supply shortage in markets where inventory is already low.

On a year-over-year basis, national home sales were up 11.5 per cent, marking a 12-year high for January home sales. Transactions surpassed January 2019 activity in two-thirds of all local housing markets, including in the majority of Canada’s largest urban centres. In the larger markets that saw a decline in sales, such as Ottawa and WindsorEssex, inventory is currently among the lowest in the country.

The national average home price in January 2020 was up 11.2 per cent year-over-year, to $504,350. This is the largest price spike since mid-2016. The national average price is skewed by the Greater Vancouver Area and the Greater Toronto Area, which are Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. Cutting them from the calculations trims the national average price to around $395,000.

Prices continue to rise in markets where inventory is down, such as southern, central and eastern Ontario, resulting in seller’s markets. Meanwhile in the Prairies and Newfoundland, ample supply is causing buyer’s market conditions.

CREA reports that Canada had 4.2 months of inventory at the end of January 2020, holding steady from November and December. This is the lowest supply level since summer 2007. The long-term average is 5.2 months.

RELATED READING: Where are Canada’s most- and least-affordable places to buy a home?

Local Real Estate Prices & Trends in Canada

Here are some highlights at the local level (source: CREA)

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Home prices in Greater Vancouver (-1.2%) are below year-ago levels, but declines are shrinking. Meanwhile, year-over-year prices rebounded in the Fraser Valley (+0.3%), Okanagan Valley (+3.5%)Victoria (+3.4%) and elsewhere on Vancouver Island (+4%).

THE PRAIRIES
CalgaryEdmonton and Saskatoon continued to experience year-over-year price declines, while the has now widened to -6.9% in Regina.

ONTARIO & ATLANTIC REGION
In Ontario, home price growth has picked up across most of the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, with a number of markets approaching double-digit gains.