July 15, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released its national
housing statistics for the month of June—the third full month of the COVID-19
While restrictions have begun to lift in many parts of the country, much remains uncertain about the real estate industry. Below, CREA’s Senior Economist Shaun Cathcart provides an update on the current state of housing markets in Canada and explains what the data means for members.
A lot of people will be surprised by the June 2020 Canadian housing numbers. Home sales, new listings and the average Canadian home price have all bounced back to their pre-COVID-19 levels.
Sales are up 150% from April 2020, up 15% from June 2019. While we have numbers returning to normal levels, the housing market—and regular life for that matter—are not quite there yet.
This may be a story of pent-up activity. We’ll have to wait and see. Later this year remains a huge question mark, but daily tracking suggests July, at least, will likely be even stronger than June.
This v-shaped bounce-back in activity is something we’re seeing basically everywhere. However, the main thing to remember is not the regional aspect of it, but that for the most part this recovery is being governed by supply, not demand.
Overall, supply has fallen to a 16-year low, so many listings coming onto the market are selling very quickly, and many parts of the country are still seeing multiple offers.
Many of the trends we were seeing heading into the spring before COVID-19 hit are still very much in play. That’s why prices are doing what they’re doing.
Tracking of the sale-to-list price ratio shows things are clearly firming up again along with the recovery in listings and sales. The MLS® Home Price Index was up 0.5% from May to June. Of the 20 markets tracked by the index, 17 were up on a month-over-month basis. Compared to a year ago it was up 5.4 %.
Looking across the country, again it’s a story of how we are—at least for now—mostly right back to the way things were before we all went into lockdown.
Prices in Vancouver and Toronto haven’t picked up yet, but their surrounding areas have. Calgary continues to struggle, but elsewhere across the Prairies prices remain stable. Prices in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area surrounding Toronto seem to be heating up again. Further east in Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Moncton, prices have been able to continue climbing during this time, just at a slower rate than before.
The story for now is the numbers are back to the way things were before COVID-19. While it feels like this has been going on for a long time, we’re still in early days as far as the long-term economic consequences go.
So maybe the theme right now would be one of cautious optimism … the numbers are better than expected … get out there but be careful … cross your fingers and stay tuned … see you in August!
To view a more detailed look at June’s national housing statistics, visit creastats.ca.