National Home Sales Cool Amid Spring Warm-up

Canadian home sales dipped in April compared to March, even as the number of properties available for sale rose to kick-off the spring market.

Home sales activity recorded over Canadian MLS systems fell 1.7 per cent month-over-month, coming in a little below the average of the last 10 years.

At the same time, the number of newly listed homes rose by 2.8 per cent between March and April. Slower sales amid more new listings resulted in a 6.5 per cent jump in the overall number of properties on the market, reaching its highest level since just before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also one of the largest month-over-month gains on record, second only to those seen during the sharp market slowdown of early 2022.

“April 2023 was characterized by a surge of buyers re-entering a market with new listings at 20-year lows, whereas this spring thus far has been the opposite, with a healthier number of properties to choose from but less enthusiasm on the demand side,” says the Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA) senior economist Shaun Cathcart.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions came in 10.1 per cent above April 2023; however, a significant part of that gain likely reflected the timing of the Easter long weekend, which occurred in March this year.

There were 4.2 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of April, up from 3.9 months the previous month and the highest level since spring 2020.

“The increase in listings is resulting in the most balanced market conditions we’ve seen at the national level since before the pandemic,” says CREA board chair James Mabey. “Mortgage rates are still high and it remains difficult for a lot of people to break into the market. For those who can, it’s the first spring market in some time where they can shop around, take their time and exercise some bargaining power. Given how much demand is out there, it’s hard to say how long it will last.”

The national composite MLS home price index was unchanged from March to April, marking the third straight month of mostly stable prices. The national average home price was $703,446 in April, down 1.8 per cent year-over-year when prices took off, something that has not yet been repeated in 2024.

While prices are sliding sideways in most areas across the country, Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon have continued to see prices steadily tick higher since the beginning of 2023.

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