Seasonally adjusted national home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards climbed 4.6 per cent in October 2010. The monthly rise in activity builds on similar increases in August and September. As a result, activity now stands 13.3 per cent above July levels, when it reached this year’s low point. Three-quarters of local markets posted monthly increases in seasonally adjusted activity in October, led by Toronto and Vancouver.
As further evidence that the market is returning to normal, sales activity in October stood halfway between the recessionary low reached in December 2008, and the record level activity posted in December 2009.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales activity in October 2010 was 21.6 per below levels for October 2009, when activity set a new record for the month.
National sales activity rebounded last year without a single monthly decline and hit record levels in the second half of 2009. As a result, large declines in activity compared to year-ago levels are masking recent monthly gains in national sales activity. Record level activity late last year is expected to continue stretching year-ago comparisons over the rest of 2010 (See graph).
The number of new residential listings on Canadian MLS® Systems edged up 1.3 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis in October. New listings remain 14 per cent below the recent peak reached in April 2010.
National sales activity and new listings have swung widely but synchronously, which has kept the market in balanced territory since the spring. Over half of all local markets in Canada are balanced, with an almost equal proportion of the remainder in buyers’ or sellers’ market territory.
The national average price trend remains stable, in keeping with a balanced market. The national average price trend has remained fairly steady for more than a year, but only recently is this being reflected in year-over-year comparisons. The national average price for homes sold in October 2010 was $343,747, up less than a percentage point compared to one year ago. October marks the fourth consecutive month in which the average home price has remained roughly even with year-ago levels.
The number of months of inventory represents the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, and measures the balance between housing supply and demand. The seasonally adjusted number of months of inventory stood at 6.2 months at the end of October on a national basis. This is down from 6.5 months in September. The number of months of inventory now stands a full month below where it was in July.
“The continuation of low interest rates is supporting sales activity, which has been improving over the past few months in a number of major markets including Vancouver,” said Georges Pahud, CREA’s President. “National housing market trends are improving, but local market trends can differ significantly, so home buyers and sellers should consult their REALTOR® to understand how their housing market is evolving.”
— MLS® is a co-operative marketing system used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.
— The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 100,000 REALTORS® working through more than 100 real estate Boards and Associations.