Home sales dipped ever so slightly by 0.5% in August from a month earlier, says the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), adding that markets are beginning to stabilize after months of historically accelerated levels.
Sales dipped by 14% on a year-over-year basis, and have been on a downward trajectory since peaking in March. Additionally, new listings increased by 1.2% from July to 66,830 in August, while the average price of a Canadian home rose by 13.3% year-over-year to $663,500.
The association noted that sales were nearly even between markets in which they rose and declined, the former occurring in the Fraser Valley, Quebec City and Edmonton, while the latter happened in the Greater Toronto Area and Montreal.
According to Cliff Stevenson, CREA’s chair, the association’s numbers are indicative of many issues that have taken centre stage during the federal election campaign, which will be decided Monday.
“Ideas on how to fix the housing market have taken centre stage in this election, with many long-simmering issues having had a big spotlight shone on them over the last year-and-a-half by COVID,” said Stevenson. “The numbers for August provided more evidence of what many of us already knew or suspected to be the case—this housing crisis will not go away on its own. As such, it’s encouraging to see all of the major parties looking at longer-term solutions to an issue that’s been around for a while. It also highlights how there are no quick fixes here, so this market will remain challenging for those who choose or have to engage in it.”
CREA also says that housing markets across the country appear to be stabilizing somewhere in between pre- and peak-pandemic levels, meaning they are extremely unbalanced. It nevertheless credited federal political parties for shifting the conversation around housing to increasing supply, but stressed a slew of problems, including labour and materials shortages, remain barriers to building more much-needed housing.