Written by Breck Hapner
The housing market in Canada is currently experiencing a downward trajectory, with the national average home price at a two-year low and sales at a 14-year low. According to data from the Canada Real Estate Association (CREA), in January 2023, the average home price declined 18 percent to $612,204, the lowest since November 2020. CREA data also shows that January 2023 saw home sales dropping 58 percent year-over-year (YOY), the lowest number of transactions since 2009. Canada’s falling home sales and prices are a direct result of the impacts brought on by higher mortgage rates, the effects of inflation, and reduced demand, as many buyers cannot afford to invest in property or will not sell in order to avoid taking a loss on their home’s worth.
In order to understand how the above factors are affecting the Canadian housing market, Haven is looking closer at primary cities. This data is courtesy of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). You can download January and February spreadsheet statistics providing comprehensive housing market analysis here. Data was also obtained using the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI), which provides statistics on home price levels, trends, and indices on residential markets of participating real estate boards in Canada.
Greater Vancouver Area
Vancouver saw barely over a thousand homes sold in February 2023. Only 1,022 homes were sold, down 43 percent from the CREA ten-year average (TYA) of 1,787 houses typically sold during the month. There were 3,297 homes put up for sale, down 23 percent from the TYA of 4,300 new listings.
There are 7,487 homes for sale right now in Vancouver, down 12 percent from the TYA of 8,515 homes for sale. Months of inventory stands at 7.3, so Vancouver is numerically well into a buyer’s market right now.
The CREA composite benchmark price (a statistical average of all property types into one concise number, which is more accurate than the average price) is $1,114,300, down seven percent from 2022 and down 13 percent from the peak of April last year. However, this was the smallest month-over-month decline at .02 percent. January 2023 was one of the worst months for sales since 2005. Only January 2009 and December 2018 saw fewer homes sold in a single month.
Home sales in Calgary are doing a bit better, surpassing Vancouver with 1,199 homes sold in the past month, up three percent from the CREA ten-year average (TYA) of 1,168 homes sold during the month. There were 1,852 homes listed for sale, down 24 percent from the TYA of 2,422 homes listed for sale.
There are 2,451 homes currently for sale in Calgary, down a staggering 47 percent from the TYA of 4,651. That leaves months of inventory at 2.0, so numbers-wise, it’s a seller’s market in Calgary.
The CREA composite benchmark price is $520,900, up 10 percent from last year but down about five percent from the peak of May 2022. The data shows a month-over-month increase in prices for the first time in four months in Calgary. However, one month doesn’t make a trend, as January and February are usually the first months in which we see home prices increase, continuing through the entire spring market. That being said, the market base in Calgary is slightly busier than normal.
Greater Edmonton Area
The Edmonton area saw 986 homes sold last month, down two percent from the CREA ten-year average (TYA) of 1,008 homes sold during the month. The 2,297 homes put up for sale is down three percent, based on the TYA of 2,376 homes listed for sale during the month.
Active inventory is 5,220 homes for sale, down 17 percent based on the TYA of 6,259 homes for sale. Months of inventory is 5.3, basically smack in the middle of a balanced market.
The CREA composite benchmark price (CBP) is $365,500, down three percent year-over-year and down about 12 percent from the peak of June 2022. That being said, the CBP remained unchanged from the previous month. That CREA data is showing slightly sub-par sales activity with lower inventory levels, but typically, this is what the Edmonton market looks like during this time of year. So, the market base in Edmonton is about normal.
Winnipeg saw 582 homes sold last month, down 60 percent based on the CREA ten-year average (TYA) of 1,441 homes sold during the month. However, there are 2,881 homes listed for sale, which is up 69 percent from last year, based on the TYA.
Months of inventory is 4.9, meaning Winnipeg is right in the middle of a balanced market. The CREA composite benchmark price is $320,500, down ten percent from last year and also down 14 percent from the peak of May 2022.
The data suggests that the secret to the Winnipeg housing market is that reasonably priced houses are selling well. Comparing CREA 2022 data to this year, it appears as if the Winnipeg real estate market is close to normal for this time of year.
Greater Toronto Area
Toronto saw 3,100 homes sold last month, which is down 38 percent from the TYA of 5,020 sold during the month. There were 7,688 homes listed for sale, down 11 percent from the TYA of 8,652 homes listed for sale during the month.
There are 9,299 homes for sale, up six percent from the TYA of 8,738 homes for sale during the month. That leaves months of inventory at 3.0, which is on the edge between a seller and a balanced market by the numbers in Toronto right now. The CREA composite benchmark price is $1,078,900, down 14 percent YOY, and down 21 percent from the peak of March 2022.
According to CREA data, sales have declined 40 percent, but the gap between the TYA month’s sales is shrinking. February had the smallest month-over-month decline at 0.7 percent. When you look at the market pace, it is still much slower than normal, but recent sales suggest an uptick in activity.
The 606 homes sold last month in Ottawa is down 31 percent from the TYA of 874 homes sold during the month. There were 1,324 homes put up for sale during the month, and that is up about 11 percent from the TYA of 1,192.
There are 2,318 homes for sale right now in Ottawa, up 15 percent from the TYA of 2,011 homes put up for sale this time of year. Months of inventory is 3.8, so by the numbers, Ottawa is just barely into a balanced market.
The CREA composite benchmark price is $605,000, down four percent YOY, down 18 percent from the peak of March 2022. Although there appears to be slightly more condominium movement, until home sales pick up, the CREA data shows the Ottawa real estate market to be slower than normal.
There were 1,791 homes sold last month in Montreal, down 41 percent from the TYA with 3,030 homes sold during the month. There were 4,598 homes put up for sale during the month, down 18 percent from the TYA of 5,617 homes put up for sale during the month.
There are 15,020 homes for sale right now in Montreal, down seven percent from the TYA, of 16,190. Months of inventory is 8.4, the highest buyer’s market in Canada right now. The CREA composite benchmark price is $495,000, down six percent from last year and down 11 percent from the peak of May 2022.
The CREA data is not showing positive sales activity yet, but if you examine the numbers from the last week of January and the first week of February, there is a significant increase. In fact, over 65 percent of the homes that sold year-to-date so far in Montreal sold in just those two weeks. Definitely a noticeable increase, although the Montreal market pace is slower than normal.
According to data gathered via the February 15, 2023 CREA report, the number of newly listed homes picked up by 3.3% on a month-over-month basis in January. That said, despite the small increase, nationally, new listings remain historically low. New supply in January 2023 hit the lowest level for that month since 2000.
As Calgary has experienced a slightly busier market, Edmonton and Winnipeg are situated with close to normal statistics. Toronto has seen a sales decline but has experienced a recent uptick in activity, in direct opposition to Vancouver. Ottawa and Montreal are also facing slower than normal markets.
Despite all the current troubles with the Canadian housing market, experts agree that if the house is priced well, it will probably sell. That being said, sellers are advised not to expect last year’s prices, and owners should price their home accordingly for the current market in order to generate interest. Agents have seen an increase in showings, attendance at open houses, and multiple offers on properties. The housing market is expected to pick up momentum heading into the spring selling season.
“We may have to wait another month or two to see what buyers are planning this year since new listings are currently trickling out at near-record low levels,” said Jill Oudil of CREA in a recent CREA report. “But that should change as the weather warms.”
In our March recap, Haven will take a closer look at the numbers: how the current Canadian housing market is reacting to prevailing economic factors influencing real estate.