Wednesday, March 20, 2019

National sales to fall to their weakest point in nearly a decade

This year, national home sales activity will likely fall to its lowest point since 2010, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s updated outlook.

The prediction followed the considerably weaker nationwide sales in February, with a 4.4% annual decline and a sharper 9.1% drop from January, The Canadian Press reported.

Aggregate nationwide sales in 2019 will shrink by 1.6% to 450,400 transactions, CREA cautioned. Meanwhile, 2020 transactions will see a 2% gain to reach 459,400 sales.

The average sales price across Canada last month was $468,350, falling by 5.2% annually. Excluding the elevated-cost environments of Toronto and Vancouver, the average price stood at a little under $371,000.

Data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also showed that these developments have accompanied a slowdown in new home construction nationwide.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts declined to 173,153 units in February, markedly lower than the 206,809 units in January and failing earlier predictions of 205,000 units.

CMHC cited mortgage rate hikes and economic sluggishness as major factors in the lower starts volume.

“Although housing starts seemed to be unscathed by the new B-20 regulations that took effect in January 2018, higher borrowing costs and tougher mortgage qualifying conditions may finally be taking a toll on new residential construction,” TD Bank senior economist Fotios Raptis said.

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