Canada | Residential sales up 10% in April

(Ottawa) The number of residential sales in April increased by 10.1% compared to the same period last year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The number of properties changing hands, however, decreased compared to March, despite an influx of new listings on the market.

On a month-over-month basis, CREA reported that residential sales in April were down 1.7%, while newly listed properties offered for sale increased 2.8% to kick off the spring market.

The average price of a property sold last month was $703,446, down 1.8% from April 2023, according to data released Wednesday by the association.

The 10.1% increase in sales in April, compared to the same period last year, is attributable to the Easter long weekend, mentions the ACI. Good Friday and Easter took place on March 29 and 31 this year, compared to April 7 and 9 last year.

This year’s spring experienced opposite conditions from the 2023 spring season, says ACI Senior Economist Shaun Cathcart.

“April 2023 saw a sharp increase in the number of buyers returning to a market where new listings were the lowest in 20 years, while it’s been the opposite this spring so far with higher numbers properties for sale, but less enthusiasm on the demand side,” he says in a press release.

Slower monthly sales and an increase in new listings led to a 6.5% increase in the total number of properties on the market, the second largest monthly gain on record.

The national real estate market is also experiencing the highest inventory levels since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 4.2 months of inventory at the end of April, compared to 3.9 months at the end of March .

The long-term average is about five months of inventory.

“A fairly solid start to the year”

Jason Ralph, broker of record with Royal LePage Team Realty in Ottawa, says that while inventory levels in his market are not as high as nationally, relatively balanced conditions give buyers more negotiating power.

“Balanced markets tend to be a place where buyers can benefit from conditions such as home inspections and financing conditions,” he maintains in an interview.

We consider this to be a somewhat fairer market, in which neither buyers nor sellers have, let’s say, an advantage.

Jason Ralph, official broker of Royal LePage Team Realty in Ottawa

According to Mr. Ralph, this is a good time to buy, although some remain cautious about when the Bank of Canada will start reducing its key rate.

“There are some buyers waiting for this positive announcement regarding lower interest rates, but I see more buyers coming forward,” says Mr. Ralph.

“We had a fairly solid start to the year compared to last year […] I think people are becoming more and more comfortable with the rates that we’re going to have to face,” he says.

Also on Wednesday, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its latest housing starts data for April, showing that the annual pace of housing starts edged down 1% from March.

The overall decline came as the annual pace of housing starts in urban centers essentially stagnated in April. CMHC said difficult borrowing conditions last year contributed to this downward trend.

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