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Housing Market Overview
Toronto and Ontario Housing Market Forecast Canadian Real Estate Market Report Greater Toronto Area Real Estate Market Ontario Real Estate MArket Update Canada’s housing market displayed signs of cooling during the first quarter of 2013, as total sales declined 15.3% year-over-year. Prices remain higher year-over-year as the overall market remains in balanced territory with stable supply/demand dynamics. While comparing year-over-year metrics can be useful, we believe it can be misleading given we are coming off record volume years. The CMHC expects total sales for 2013 to reach 451,100, unchanged vs 2012 and 3.4% below the long term average of 467,100. Industry experts fully expect that headlines will continue to focus on how sales remain down from last year, but are quick to point out that those same numbers have held steady since the last round of mortgage regulations took effect in July 2012. Although transactions remained down from year ago levels in more than 90% of all local markets, the gap diminished in a number of large urban markets including Greater Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal. Edmonton was the only large urban market which had sales that surpassed those of a year ago. The national market remains firmly in balanced territory as inventory declined to 6.6 months at the end of April from 6.7 months in December. The decline was a result of an increase in sales combined with a decline in the overall supply of homes for sale. The national average price for homes sold in April was $380,588, which represents a 1.3% increase from the same month last year and a 4.6% increase from the average sale price in 2012. Greater Toronto Area Real Estate Market In the GTA, resale activity slowed during the first four months of the year with a 11% decline in total sales compared with the first four months of 2012. Shortage of listings in some market segments, stricter lending guidelines and the additional land transfer tax is likely to have played a role in the decline. The largest year-over-year decline amongst any segment was the resale condo market which was down 13.9% from the first four months of 2012. This decline was spread evenly between the “416” and “905” regions in the GTA. Prices continue to be supported by overall supply/demand dynamics as the average selling price during the first four months was $513,895 which represented a 2.8% increase from the same period one year ago. The average selling price in April was led by townhomes and highrise condo apartments which both saw a 3.1% year-over-year price increase followed by semi-detached homes where there was a 2.7% increase. The average selling price has rebounded to start the year after experiencing two consecutive down months to close 2012. GTA Year-Over-Year Summary For April Source: TREB Taking a closer look at the condo market in the GTA, there was a total of 4,133 sales reported through the MLS System in the first 3 months which was down 17% from the first quarter of 2012. New listings were also down 5.3% year-over-year. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, condo buyers benefited from a substantial amount of choice in the market especially in comparison to low-rise home types. But given that new listings were down in the first quarter, this suggests that the market may become tighter moving forward. Inventory numbers continue to remain low amongst low-rise homes as the number of newly listed homes continue to decrease. At the end of April, there was just 1.8 months of inventory in this segment compared to over 3 months at the end of 2012. Condo inventories also felt the effects of fewer listings, as inventory fell to under 3.5 months for the first time since May 2012. The national inventory number is 6.6 months. Historical Home Sales and Average Price in the GTA Source: TREB Months of Inventory Between Highrise Lowrise Housing in GTA Source: TREB Ontario Real Estate Market Update Existing home sales in Ontario stabilized during the first quarter of 2013 after trending lower in each of the prior four quarters. A total of 39,330 homes were sold during the first three months which represented a 4.9% increase from the fourth quarter of 2012 and a 13.6% decline from the same period one year earlier. Modest job growth across the province coupled with more out-migration over the past year contributed to sluggish resale demand. New home listings dropped province wide for a third consecutive quarter as weather conditions and less upward pressure on prices discouraged homeowners from putting homes on the market. Row and apartment housing remained well supplied while single and semi-detached housing experienced less obliging supply conditions. The hottest market was Thunder Bay due in large part to lack of supply options. Hamilton, Barrie and Oshawa are markets which have tightened due to incoming demand from households bypassing the more expensive GTA market. Despite the presence of balanced market conditions, Ontario home prices still managed to grow above the general rate of inflation during the early part of 2013. The average selling price during the first three months was $393,170 which was a 2.4% increase over the first quarter of 2012. The price gain was supported by the fact that mid to higher end homes continue to dominate a large part of the entire market. This phenomenon is consistent with the tighter market conditions for singles and semi-detached housing in some of the major markets across the province. Ontario’s tightest resale markets posted the strongest price gains so far this year with Thunder Bay leading the way. Comparison of Select Markets in Ontario Source: CMHC Ontario saw a decline in the number of newly constructed residential homes during the quarter with most of the weakness concentrated in the multi-family home sector, with singles posting modest declines. Momentum in the residential construction sector has been less intense since last spring due to better supplied resale markets and high level of units under construction. Residential construction has declined most in Kitchener, Kingston and Windsor while holding up better in Barrie, Thunder Bay and St. Catharines-Niagara. Average Annual Home Prices in Ontario Source: CMHC
National house price index rises again in August
The national HPI has grown at a below-inflation rate of 0.6% over the last 12 months. However, the weakness is not regionally broad-based. The national HPI has been depressed by 12 consecutive months without a rise in Vancouvers index, which dropped a cumulative 6.6%. Other Western metropolitan areas (Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg) also contributed to slow the national HPI. At the opposite, annual growth has been decent in most of the regions located in the central and eastern part of the country. That being said, home sales in August were up 55% from March in Vancouver, where market conditions went from favorable to buyers to balanced. Over that period, home sales rose 19% in Calgary and 12% in Edmonton. These improvements, if sustained, will sooner or later help limit home-price deflation in this region.
The TeranetNational Bank Composite National House Price IndexTM increased 0.4% in August, a fourth gain in a row after an eight-month string without a rise.
On a monthly basis, the index rose in 8 of the 11 markets covered: Victoria (+0.2%), Calgary (+0.6%), Hamilton (0.7%), Winnipeg (0.7%), Toronto (+0.8%), Montreal (1.1%), Ottawa-Gatineau (1.7%) and Halifax (1.8%). The index was down in Vancouver (-0.8%), Quebec City (-0.4%) and Edmonton (-0.1%).
From August 2018 to August 2019, the Composite index rose 0.6%. Over the period, the HPI declined in Vancouver (-6.6%), Edmonton (-3.1%), Calgary (-2.3%). It was marginally up in Quebec City (0.1%), Victoria (0.7%) and Winnipeg (1.1%). It grew more convincingly in Toronto (+3.8%), Hamilton (+4.4%), Halifax (5.5%), Montreal (+5.7%) and Ottawa-Gatineau (+6.4%).
Source: National Bank, Marc Pinsonneault
CREA Updates Resale Housing Market Forecast
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Systems of Canadian real estate boards and associations for the rest of 2019 and looking ahead to 2020.
Economic fundamentals underpinning housing activity remain strong outside of the Prairies and Newfoundland and Labrador. Population and employment growth have both remained supportive and the unemployment rate remains low. At the same time, expectations have become widespread that the Bank of Canada is unlikely to raise interest rates over the rest of the year and into next.
More importantly for home buyers and housing markets, longer-term mortgage rates have been declining. Among those that have declined is the Bank of Canadas benchmark five-year rate used by banks to qualify mortgage applicants.
Additionally, the Federal Government has recently launched its First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, a shared equity program in which the federal government finances a portion of a home purchase in exchange for an equity share of the homes value.
Of these factors supporting Canadian housing activity, the decline in mortgage rates is arguably the most important development since the release in June of CREAs most recent forecast. The decline in the benchmark five-year mortgage rate has marginally relaxed the B-20 mortgage stress-test, which has dampened housing activity more than other policy changes made in recent years.
Home sales have improved by more than expected in recent months and there are early signs that home price declines in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and across the Prairies may be abating. Meanwhile, home prices are re-accelerating across Ontarios Greater Golden Horseshoe region.
Strong economic fundamentals, previously unexpected declines in mortgage interest rates and stronger than previously expected housing market trends in British Columbia and Ontario have resulted in CREA upwardly revising forecast home sales in 2019 and 2020. Nonetheless, the overall level of national sales activity this year and next is anticipated to remain below levels recorded prior to the implementation of the B-20 stress test.
National home sales are now projected to recover to 482,000 units in 2019, representing a 5% increase from the five-year low recorded in 2018. While this is an upward revision of 19,000 transactions compared to CREAs previous forecast (85% of which is due to upgraded British Columbia and Ontario forecasts), it represents a return of activity to its 10-year annual average. It also remains well below the annual record set in 2016, when almost 540,000 homes traded hands. Notwithstanding the upward revision, the forecast for 2019 on a per capita basis remains the second weakest since 2001.