Home sales up in February, while new listings still down
- On a seasonally adjusted basis, home sales increased 2.3% from January to February, a third monthly gain in five months. The increase was widespread across provinces, with only Manitoba (-7.9%), Nova Scotia (-0.9%), and Alberta (-0.4%) registering decreases.
- On the supply side, new listings dropped by 7.9% in the month, a sixth decrease in eight months.
- Still, we continue to see that there is a high proportion of sellers who are changing their minds, as we estimate that about one in five listings have been withdrawned in the last three months.
- Overall, supply decreased slightly in Canada as testified by the number of months of inventory (active listings to sales) decreasing from 4.2 to 4.1 in February. This remains up from the trough of 1.7 reached in the pandemic but remains low on a historical basis.
- The active-listings to sales ratio is still tighter than its historical average in the majority of Canadian provinces, with only B.C. and Manitoba indicating a ratio above average.
- Housing starts in Canada increased in February (+27.4K to 244.0K, seasonally adjusted and annualized), which was above consensus expectations calling for a 220K print. This jump almost fully erased January's 32.4K pullback. In urban areas, increases in housing starts were seen in Ontario (+26.4K to 98.4K), the Prairies (+10.5K to 43.8K), Quebec (+5.1K to 40.4K) and the Maritimes (+0.8K to 5.8K). Starts in BC (-12.8K to 33.7K), meanwhile, declined to their lowest level since March 2022 on a weakness in multiples (-12.3K to 28.4K) while single units starts were essentially steady (-0.5K to 5.3K).
- The Teranet-National Bank Composite National House Price Index decreased by 0.5% in February compared to the previous month and after seasonal adjustment, the tenth consecutive monthly decrease. After seasonal adjustment, 7 of the 11 markets in the composite index were down during the month: Toronto (-2.7%), Calgary (-2.4%), Halifax (-1.8%), Edmonton (-0.8%), Hamilton (-0.3%), Montreal (-0.3%) and Ottawa-Gatineau (-0.2%). Conversely, prices increased in Vancouver (+3.8%), Victoria (+1.9%) and Quebec City (+0.1%). while they remained stable in Winnipeg.