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Canadian home sales edge lower but remain strong in June


National home sales edged back by 0.8% from May to June. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 11% above June 2014 levels. The number of newly listed homes edged down 0.2% from May to June. The Canadian housing market remains balanced overall. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.43% year-over-year in June. The national average sale price rose 9.6% on a year-over-year basis in June; excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, it increased by 3.1%.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations declined by 0.8 per cent in June 2015 compared to May. Sales levels in May and June marked the strongest monthly readings in more than five years.

June sales were up from the previous month in about half of all local markets, led by increases in Hamilton-Burlington and in the Durham Region of the Greater Toronto Area. The monthly increase in sales there was offset by monthly sales declines in Ottawa and Montreal.

“Low interest rates are unquestionably helping boost consumer confidence and home sales activity this summer,” said CREA President Pauline Aunger. “But low interest rates are benefiting sales in some areas more than others. All real estate is local, with trends affected by a combination of local and national factors. REALTORS® remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future.”

“Low interest rates are helping sales activity set new records in and around the Greater Toronto Area, which is boosting national sales activity,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Those records would be even higher were it not for an ongoing shortage of listings for single family homes in the area. The combination of strong demand and a shortage of listings is continuing to fuel single family home price increases.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in June 2015 set a record for the month, standing 11 per cent above levels reported for the same month last year and 14 per cent above the 10-year average for the month.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales were up on a year-over-year basis in about two-thirds of all local markets, led by activity in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Greater Toronto, Hamilton-Burlington, and Montreal.

The number of newly listed homes was little changed (-0.2 per cent) in June compared to May, marking the third consecutive month in which they remained stable. There was roughly an even split between the number of local markets showing an increase in new listings and those showing a decline.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 57.2 per cent in June. Although little changed from its reading the previous month, it is up from the low of 50.4 per cent reached in January when it reached its most balanced point since March 2013. The ratio has risen steadily along with sales over the first half of the year while new supply has remained stable.

A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 per cent is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings above and below this range indicating sellers’ and buyers’ markets respectively.

The ratio was within this range in about half of local housing markets in June. About one-third of all local markets breached the 60 per cent threshold in June, comprised mostly of markets in British Columbia together with those in and around the Greater Toronto Area.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 5.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of June 2015, unchanged from a month earlier when it reached its lowest reading in three years. The national balance between supply and demand has tightened since the beginning of the year, when it was at its most balanced in nearly two years.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 5.43 per cent on a year-over-year basis in June, accelerating slightly by comparison to the 5.17 per cent year-over-year gain logged in May. Gains have generally held within the range of between five to five and a half per cent since the beginning of 2014.

Year-over-year price growth picked up in June for single family homes, slowed for apartment units, and was little changed for townhouse/row units.

Two-storey single family homes continue to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+7.65 per cent), with comparatively more modest increases for one-storey single family homes (+4.43 per cent), townhouse/row units (+4.00 per cent) and apartment units (+2.64 per cent).

Year-over-year price growth varied among housing markets tracked by the index. Greater Vancouver (+10.26 per cent) and Greater Toronto (+8.94 per cent) continue to post by far the biggest year-over-year price increases. By comparison, Fraser Valley, Victoria, and Vancouver Island prices all recorded year-over-year gains of about four per cent in June.

Price gains in Calgary continued to slow, with a year-over-year increase of just 0.48 per cent in June. This was the smallest gain in nearly four years and marks a full year of monthly slowdowns in the rate of year-over-year price growth.

Elsewhere, prices held steady on a year-over-year basis in Saskatoon and Ottawa and rose slightly in Greater Montreal. By comparison, prices fell by almost three and a half per cent in Regina and by about two per cent in Greater Moncton.

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends than is possible using averages because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in June 2015 was $453,560, up 9.6 per cent on a year-over-year basis.

The national average home price continues to be upwardly distorted by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. If these two markets are excluded from calculations, the average is a more modest $346,904 and the year-over-year gain is reduced to 3.1 per cent.

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month.

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 neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 109,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found at

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