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CREA numbers reveal April surprise

by Olivia D'Orazio | Canadian Real Estate Wealth | May 15, 2015

Home sales activity continues to defy expectations, with Canadians taking advantage of warm weather and low rates in April for a 10 per cent spike in sales volume.

The number of transactions last month came in at 52,541 deals, up 10 per cent compared to the year-ago period, according to new figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Most provinces also experienced large hikes in sales, most notably a 28.7 per cent year-over-year increase in British Columbia and a 17.4 per cent year-over-year rise in Ontario.

Those impressive climbs offset month-on-month declines of 23 per cent and 14.8 per cent in Alberta and Saskatchewan, respectively.

“As expected, low mortgage interest rates and the onset of spring ushered many homebuyers off the sidelines, particularly in regions where winter was long and bitter,” said CREA president Pauline Aunger.

She and others are referencing a surprising increase in sales for New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador – up 7.8 per cent and 11.6 per cent, respectively.

Indeed, those provinces are certainly benefitting from milder weather following a particularly brutal and especially long winter that certainly stifled the market.

Many of those entering the market are doing so for the first time, choosing condos over detached properties, which are more and more out of reach for buyers on all rungs of the property ladder.

In Toronto and Vancouver, condo sales were up 16.1 per cent and 34.4 per cent, respectively.

Calgary, however, is still feeling the impact of the oil shock: condo sales were off 28.5 per cent from the year-ago period. Prices in Calgary, however, remained relatively stable, dropping a modest 4.6 per cent from the year-ago period to $296,612.

Across the country and across all property types, sales prices were up 9.5 per cent to an average of $448,862.

Prices in Toronto’s condo market were up 5.8 per cent to $380,517, while Vancouver’s condo prices slipped 0.3 per cent to $457,914.

“In recent years, the seasonal pattern for home sales and listings has become amplified in places where listings are in short supply relative to demand,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

“This particularly stands out in and around Toronto.”

http://www.canadianrealestatemagazine.ca/news/crea-numbers-reveal-april-surprise-191390.aspx