Canadian home sales were lower in October than in the previous month and activity decreased from a year ago.
Figures from CREA show a 1.6% decline in sales month-over-month while activity was down 3.7% year-over-year (not seasonally adjusted).
There were fewer home sales in half of local markets led by Hamilton-Burlington, Montreal, and Edmonton. And while there was modest improvement in activity in many markets, declines in other areas outpaced those gains twofold.
“National sales activity lost momentum in October,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “In part, this reflects waning activity among some urban centers in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region and the absence of an offsetting rise in sales in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Even so, the balance between sales and listings in these regions points to stable prices or modest gains.”
Klump added that the balance between sales and listings for housing markets in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland indicates a weak pricing environment for homeowners who are looking to sell.
New listings slip
New listings edged down 1.1% between September and October, led by the GTA, Calgary and Victoria; more than offsetting increases in new supply in Edmonton and Greater Vancouver.
There were 5.3 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of October 2018 - in line with its long-term national average, but well above the month’s long-term average in the Prairie provinces and in Newfoundland & Labrador. By contrast, Ontario and Prince Edward Island are the two provinces where the measure remains.
Prices begin to ease
The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) was up 2.3% year-over-year (y-o-y) in October but the national average sale price slipped by 1.5% y-o-y in October.
“This year’s new mortgage stress-test has lowered how much mortgage home buyers can qualify for across Canada, but its effect on sales has varied somewhat depending on location, housing type and price range,” said CREA President Barb Sukkau.