OTTAWA – July 14th, 2009 – National resale housing market activity bounced back strongly in the second quarter of 2009 above levels reported for the same period last year. Demand continues to rebound sharply in some of the most expensive markets in the country, skewing the national average price upward.
According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), actual (not seasonally adjusted) home sales, via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) of Canadian real estate boards, totaled 147,351 units in the second quarter of 2009 – the fourth strongest quarterly sales figure ever. Up 1.4 per cent from the second quarter of 2008, this marks the first year-over-year increase in quarterly activity since the fourth quarter of 2007.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, national MLS® home sales numbered 114,173 units in the second quarter, jumping up a record 31.5 per cent from the first quarter of 2009.
“Potential buyers who moved to the sidelines late last year when economic uncertainty peaked are returning to the housing market now that the worst of the recession may be behind us,” said Dale Ripplinger, President of The Canadian Real Estate Association.
Seasonally adjusted resale activity in the second quarter was up from the previous quarter in about 85 per cent of local markets. Quarterly activity increases in Toronto (45 per cent), Vancouver (77 per cent), Montreal (33 per cent), Calgary (66 per cent) and Edmonton (39 per cent) contributed most to the national increase in activity.
Strong upward momentum for monthly sales activity was sustained throughout the second quarter. June marked the fifth consecutive month in which activity was up from month-ago levels. Some 41,304 homes traded hands via the MLS® of real estate boards in Canada on a seasonally adjusted basis in June 2009. This is up 8.7 per cent from May and represents the first time since January 2008 that monthly activity topped 40,000 units.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) MLS® home sales climbed 17.9 per cent year-over-year to 54,616 units in June 2009. This is on par with the record for the month of June set in 2007 and is the fourth highest level for activity in any month on record.
The national MLS® residential average sale price reached the highest quarterly level ever in the second quarter of 2009. At $318,696, the average sale price was up half a percent from the previous record set in the second quarter of 2008.
The national average home price also scaled new heights on a monthly basis, climbing 3.6 per cent year-overyear to $326,613 in June 2009. However, only 13 local markets posted new average price records in June, less than a handful of which are among the most active or expensive. The strong rebound in sales activity, not price, in Canada’s most expensive markets is skewing average prices upward nationally and in some provinces, just as a sharp decline in activity in these markets skewed the average lower in late 2008.
MLS® home sales rebound in the second quarter. The price trend is similar but less dramatic for the weighted national MLS® average price, which compensates for changes in provincial sales activity by taking into account provincial proportions of privately owned housing stock. The weighted national MLS® average sale price was up 1.7 per cent year-over-year in June 2009 – less than half of the percentage increase in the unweighted national average price.
The supply of homes coming onto the MLS® market continued retreating in second quarter. Seasonally adjusted MLS® residential new listings were down 16.9 per cent from the previous quarter to 197,049 units, the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2005.
Nationally, the number of months of inventory was 4.2 months in June 2009. This is the lowest level since August 2007, and well down from the recessionary peak of 12.8 months in January 2009. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.
The residential dollar volume for MLS® sales jumped 40.6 per cent on a seasonally adjusted quarter-over-quarter basis in the second quarter of 2009, to reach $34.8 billion.
“Low interest rates have improved the affordability of homeownership, as have price adjustments in housing markets that previously experienced rapid price increases,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “Housing markets where negotiations recently favoured the buyer have become more balanced and the stage is being set for modest price appreciation as inventories are drawn down by sales.”
“Sales momentum remains strong going into the second half of 2009,” said CREA President Dale Ripplinger. “Chances are good that the number of transactions in the second half of 2009 will surpass levels in the first half of the year.”