Single family home prices rose 2.6% m/m (month over month) (and a robust 17.4% y/y (year over year))
In January, Canadian home sales increased 2.0% month-on-month, building on Decembers 7.0% gain. On a year-on-year basis, they were up 35.2%.
Provincially, sales were up in 8 of 10 provinces in January, with strong gains recorded in PEI (+20.5% m/m) and Alberta (+11.9%).
On the flip-side, a relatively steep decline was recorded in Nova Scotia (-8.3%).
New listings dropped by 13.5% m/m in January. The combination of rising sales and falling new listings brought the months supply of inventory measure to under 1.9 months.
The national sales-to-new listings ratio also increased to 90.7% its highest level by far.
Every province was in sellers territory in December, and many of those in the eastern part of Canada had ratios over 100% (Quebec: 128.3%; New Brunswick: 116.0%; Nova Scotia: 114.3% and PEI:101.5%).
This means that there were more sales than new units listed last month in these provinces. This is a rare situation, but has occurred before in the Atlantic Provinces. However, January marked a first on this front in Quebec.
Elsewhere, ratios were particularly elevated in Manitoba (86.1%) and Ontario (88.6).
Strong demand and historically tight conditions were reflected in prices.
Indeed, Canadian average home prices surged by 4.7% m/m in January. On a year-on-year basis, they were up 22.8%, marking an acceleration from December. However, prices were up in 8 of 10 provinces during the month, with the largest gains occurring in Alberta (+8.1%) and Ontario (7.4%).
Compared with the average sales price, the MLS home price index, a more like for like measure, increased 2.0% m/m. Single family home prices rose 2.6% m/m (and a robust 17.4% y/y), whereas apartment prices advanced by a smaller 0.2% m/m (and decelerated to 3.3% y/y). In Toronto, apartment prices increased 0.4% m/m, the first gain in 4 months.
Home sales picked up right where they left off to start 2021. Demand was likely given a lift by ultra-low mortgage rates, which dropped again during the month. Januarys robust gain coupled with a strong handoff into this year virtually ensures that sales will increase in the first quarter. However, with sales likely running above fundamentally-supported levels, we think some cooling in activity will take place, especially in the second half. A dwindling supply of inventories, when benchmarked against the current sales pace, could also weigh on activity moving forward. With todays data showing a solid gain in prices last month and new supply collapsing across nearly the entire country, markets were historically tight. This points to further strong price gains ahead in the near-term. Also notable was that benchmark condo prices grew for the first time in several months in Toronto. Although supply remains elevated, conditions are becoming tighter than what we saw last fall. This suggests that further gains are in store.
Four Steps to Buying Your First Home
If this is the year in which you resolved to buy your first house, youre about to enter a period in your life that is both exciting and nerve-wracking. With so many factors to consider before you sign the dotted line, the financial experts from Desjardins Group have some tips and suggestions to help get you started.
First, can you even afford a house?
Although interest rates are low now, its important to remember that they may increase in the future. Typically, mortgages are amortized over 25 years and are offered in six-month, five- or even ten-year terms. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford because your life and financial priorities will change.
Second, secure your down payment
Experts advise that prospective home owners should down a down payment of up to 20 percent of the houses value. One option is to borrow against your RRSP. Each person is eligible to withdraw $25,000 or $50,000 per couple. If you havent enough in your account, its possible to take a top-up RRSP loan to reach the right amount. Once you have bought your home, youll have 15 years to repay the amount to your RRSP. Another option is to put down 10 percent and to accept a higher mortgage loan insurance amount.
Third, fixed or variable rate?
A fixed interest rate offers stability and predictability, but you lose out on lower interest rates should they become available. The payments with variable interest rates also remain constant but there is the risk that interest rates may go up. This means more goes to your interest payment and less to your principal. If you cant choose between the two options, a split mortgage offers you the best of both worlds. Another idea for first time home buyers is to consider qualifying for a pre-authorized mortgage. This process evaluates your financial situation to determine the maximum financing amount for which you are eligible. That way when you start looking at houses you will know which ones fit your budget.
Fourth, have enough to close
Avoid closing sticker shock by knowing ahead of time what other fees and taxes youll need to pay, such as:
Inspection fees: If you decide to purchase an existing home, this detailed report will focus attention on any hidden defects that will require repair in the short- and long-term.
Appraisal fees: Your financial institution will request that an appraiser evaluate and determine the true value of the property you wish to acquire.
Legal fees: You will be responsible for hiring a lawyer who will prepare, sign and register the various legal documents related to the purchase of the property.
Additional taxes and fees: Transfer tax, property tax, school taxes, electricity and natural gas bills are due at sale closing.
Mortgage brokers are an important part of buying owning a home. I am a knowledgeable advisor that can help you ensure you have the right mortgage at the best interest rate available. For more information about mortgages, feel free to contact me.
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