House sales in Canada are falling nationally, seeing the first monthly fall since the beginning of the year, according to the latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
The figures reveal that national home sales fell 1.4% from August to September but actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 10.6% above September 2013 levels.
The data also shows that the number of newly listed homes declined by 1.6% from August to September and the national average sale price rose 5.9% on a year on year basis in September.
A breakdown of the figures show that activity was down in about 60% of all local housing markets in September, led by monthly declines in Calgary, Edmonton, Central Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, London and St. Thomas, Windsor-Essex, and Ottawa.
Home sales rose on a month on month basis in Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, the Okanagan region, Mississauga, Durham and York regions of the Greater Toronto Area, Sherbrooke, and the Northern region of Nova Scotia.
‘Affordably priced single family homes are in short supply in some of Canada’s hottest housing markets, which contributed to the monthly decline in national sales activity in September,’ said CREA president Beth Crosbie.
‘That said, there are other markets with ample supply but sellers there are holding firm on price. There is a lot of variation in housing market trends depending on the type of housing, neighborhood and price segment,’ she added.
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September sales were up from year ago levels in about 80% of all local markets, led by Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan region, Calgary, Greater Toronto and Montreal.
The increase reflects activity in September 2013 that was handicapped by the occurrence of five Sundays, since that day is the lowest volume trading day for home sales.
Sales activity for the year to date in September was 5% above where it stood in the first nine months of 2013, and remains broadly in line with the 10 year average for the period.
The number of newly listed homes declined by 1.6% in September compared to August. New supply was down in just over half of all local markets, led by Calgary, Edmonton, Greater Toronto, Kingston and Ottawa.
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 5.9 months of inventory nationally at the end of September 2014, up slightly from 5.8 months in August and slightly below the six months reported in May, June and July.
Price growth has been steady at about five to 5.5% since the beginning of the year and year on year price growth accelerated slightly for two story single family homes and slowed further for apartment units. Price gains for one story single family homes and townhouse/row units were little changed compared to August.
Two story single family homes continue to post the biggest year on year price gains with growth of 6.52% followed closely by townhouse/row units up 5.51% and one story single family homes up 5.07%. Price growth for apartment units remains comparatively more modest at 3.05%.
Price growth varied among housing markets tracked by the index. As in recent months, the biggest gains were posted by Calgary with growth of 10.11%, Greater Toronto up 7.82% and Greater Vancouver up 5.26%. Price gains were fairly flat elsewhere, with only Vancouver Island having posted year on year gains greater than consumer price inflation.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in September 2014 was $408,795, up 5.9% from the same month last year. CREA said that the national average price continues to be skewed upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the calculation, the average price is a relatively more modest $325,406 and the year on year increase shrinks to 4.5%.
‘Sales activity and prices in the third quarter were up compared to the second quarter, although momentum going into the fourth quarter is showing tentative signs of waning,’ he explained.
‘The continuation of extraordinarily low mortgage rates has been and will continue to be the key support for home sales activity amid continuing price increases in some of Canada’s most active and expensive urban centers,’ he added.
This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.