Market Watch February 2015 - Strong Start to 2015

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The cold weather proved not to be a deterrent for buyers in January. January sales figures represented good news on multiple fronts. First, strong sales growth suggests homebuyers continue to see housing as a quality long-term investment, despite the recent period of economic uncertainty. Second, the fact that new listings grew at a faster pace than sales suggests that it has become easier for some people to find a home that meets their needs.

The possibility of interest rates approaching record lows will provide even more opportunity for homebuyers. The real estate resale market remains steady, and we look forward to a productive year ahead.

Ontario - Strong start to 2015

Toronto, February 4, 2015 -Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Paul Etherington announced a strong start to 2015, with robust year-over-year sales and average price growth in January. Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,355 home sales through the Toronto Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) system during the first month of the year. This result represented a 6.1% increase over January 2014. During the same period, new listings were up by 9.5%.

"The January results represented good news on multiple fronts. First, strong sales growth suggests homebuyers continue to see housing as a quality long-term investment, despite the recent period of economic uncertainty. Second, the fact that new listings grew at a faster pace than sales suggests that it has become easier for some people to find a home that meets their needs," said Mr. Etherington.

The average selling price for January 2015 home sales was up by 4.9% year-over-year to $552,575. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite benchmark was up by 7.5% compared to January 2014.

"Home price growth is forecast to continue in 2015. Lower borrowing costs will largely mitigate price growth this year, which means affordability will remain in check. The strongest rates of price growth will be experienced for low-rise home types, including singles, semis and town houses. However, robust end-user demand for condo apartments will result in above-inflation price growth in the high-rise segment as well," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Director of Market Analysis.

Ottawa, February 4, 2015 - Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) sold 627 residential properties in January through the Board’s MLS® system, compared with 587 in January 2014, an increase of 6.8%. The five-year average for January sales is 633.

“The cold weather proved not to be a deterrent for buyers in January,” says President of the OREB David Oikle. “Residential and condo sales combined, contributed to an increase in sales this month, and we are right on par with the January average. Residential two-storey and bungalow properties had the highest concentration of buyers. In addition to residential and condominium sales, OREB members assisted clients with renting 183 units this month.”

January's sales included 114 in the condominium property class, and 513 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, townhouse, etc.), which is registered as a condominium, as well as properties which are co-operatives, life leases and timeshares. The residential property class includes all other residential properties.

“This month has been a busy month for our Members,” says Oikle. “The number of residential and condo properties listed in January (2,018) more than doubled the amount of newly listed properties from December – a normal occurrence at the beginning of the year, in advance of the usual busy spring market.”

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in January in the Ottawa area was $348,617, an increase of 0.5% over January 2014. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $250,406, a decrease of 5.8% over January 2014. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $370,442, an increase of 0.5% over January 2014. While average sale price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, it should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value, because the average sale price is calculated based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold.

“The possibility of interest rates approaching record lows will provide even more opportunity for homebuyers,” explains Oikle. “The Ottawa resale market remains steady, and we look forward to a productive year ahead.”

British Columbia - Home buyers remain active despite reduced selection

Vancouver, February 13, 2015 - The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 4,377 residential unit sales were recorded by the MLS® in January, up 3.1% from the same month last year. Total sales dollar volume was $2.6 billion, an increase of 8.3% compared to a year ago. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $593,155, up 5.0% from the same month last year.

"Last month was the strongest January for BC home sales in five years," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. "However, consumer demand did edge down from December on a seasonally adjusted basis."

Low mortgage interest rates, strong population growth and improving labour market conditions are underpinning housing demand in the province. However, weakening economic conditions in Alberta are limiting home sales in the Okanagan, Kootenay and BC Northern market areas.

MLS® residential sales in British Columbia are forecast to rise 2.4% to 86,050 units this year and a further 3.9% to 89,400 units in 2016. The ten-year average is 82,100 unit sales. A record 106,300 MLS® residential sales were recorded in 2005.

Quebec – Residential sales slow in January in the Montréal area

Île-des-Sœurs, February 6, 2015 - The Greater Montréal Real Estate Board (GMREB) today released its residential sales statistics for the Montréal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). According to the real estate brokers’ Centris® provincial database, 1,935 residential sales were concluded in January 2015, a 5.0% decrease compared to January 2014.

“January’s results are a contrast to those of December, when sales increased by 9.0% in the Montréal CMA,” said Diane Ménard, Vice-President of the GMREB Board of Directors. “Fortunately, the recent drop in interest rates could reinvigorate the real estate market in the coming months,” she added.

Geographically, the South Shore was the only area to register an increase in sales in January, as transactions rose by 4% compared to January of 2014. Otherwise, sales decreased on the Island of Montréal (-8.0%), in Laval (-8.0%), on the North Shore (-5.0%) and in Vaudreuil-Soulanges (-10%).
By property category, sales of single-family homes fell by 5.0% across the CMA in January, while sales of condominiums posted a larger decrease at 9.0%. Plexes, on the other hand, had a good start to the year, as sales of this property category grew by 10% compared to January of last year.

In terms of prices, despite a larger decrease in sales, condominiums registered the largest increase in median price, growing by 5.0% across the CMA compared to January of last year to reach $230,485. The median price of single-family homes increased by 2.0% to reach $277,500, while that of plexes remained relatively stable at $428,500.

Finally, the number of active listings on the real estate brokers’ Centris® system continued its upward trend. In January 2015, there were 7.0 more properties for sale across the Montréal CMA compared to January of last year.