Market Watch – November 2010 Canadian Housing Market is Returning to Balanced Market

Real Estate Agent with REMAX Saskatoon

Market Watch – November 2010
Canadian Housing Market is Returning to Balanced Market
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Sales figures collected from real estate boards across the country in October indicate that the Canadian housing market is returning to a balanced market.

“Six months ago we were in a strong seller’s market, now we have moved into a more balanced market position,” said Rick Snell Past President of Ottawa Real Estate Board.  “Some properties are still receiving multiple offers but this is happening much less often than was the case in the spring.”

However, sellers should be aware that demand for homes is strong, yet selective. Buyers recognize that selection, although dropping is still generous and they’re looking for properties priced competitively.

The outlook for mortgage rates and income growth over the next year is favourable. The average home selling price could increase moderately next year and remain affordable for the average Canadian household.
Ontario - October price growth reflects healthy housing market conditions

Toronto, November 3, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 6,681 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October 2010. This represented a 21% decrease compared to the 8,476 sales recorded in October 2009. Through the first ten months of the year, sales amounted to 75,582 – up 1% compared to the January through October period in 2009.

"The annual change in sales and average selling prices has been quite uniform across the GTA and by property type as the market has balanced out from record levels of sales in the second half of 2009 and first few months of 2010," said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.

"The composition of GTA home sales does differ depending on location. Condominium apartments accounted for 42% of total sales in the City of Toronto and almost 60%  of sales in TREB's central districts," Johnston continued. "In regions surrounding the City of Toronto, in contrast, low rise home types accounted for almost 90% of transactions."

The average price for October transactions was $443,729 – up 5% compared to the average of $423,559 reported in October 2009. The average selling price through the first nine months of the year was $430,802.

"The average selling price in the GTA has continued to grow relative to 2009 because home ownership has remained affordable," said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "A household earning the average income in the GTA can comfortably afford the mortgage payments associated with the purchase of an average priced home."

The median price was $366,000 in October, from the $357,000 recorded during October of 2009.
Ottawa, November 2, 2010 – Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,042 residential properties in October through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system compared with 1,197 in October 2009, a decrease of 12.9%. Year to date, the number of properties sold has declined 2% compared to the same period last year, a record setting year. Of those sales, 221 were in the condominium property class, while 821 were in the residential property class.

“Six months ago we were in a strong seller’s market, now we have moved into a more balanced market position,” said Immediate Past President Rick Snell. “Some properties are still receiving multiple offers but this is happening much less often than was the case in the spring.”

The average sale price of residential properties, including the average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in October in the Ottawa area was $340,719, an increase of 6.8% over October 2009. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $263,292, an increase of 13.4% over October 2009. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $361,560, an increase of 5% over October 2009.
British Columbia – Fraser Valley housing market “getting back to normal”

Surrey,  November 2, 2010 – Fraser Valley’s real estate market moved towards balance in October as inventory continued to decrease and sales and prices remained stable.

A total of 1,014 sales were processed on the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s (FVREB) Multiple Listing Service® in October, a decrease of 3% compared to 1,044 sales in September and a decrease of 40% compared to 1,704 sales in October of last year.

Deanna Horn, FVREB President, says “with help from near record low mortgage rates and a steady decrease in the supply of homes, we’re getting back to what I call a ‘normal’, balanced market.

The Board received 2,125 new listings last month, a 12% decrease from September and a 25% decrease compared to October 2009. The Board finished October with 9,561 active listings, 4% fewer than in September and an increase of 9% compared to the 8,807 properties available in October 2009.

Horn adds, “When supply and demand move into balance, prices can become a real ‘sticking point’ underlining the importance of hiring a professional REALTOR® who knows your local market and can provide detailed comparisons to ensure your home is priced competitively.”

The benchmark price for Fraser Valley detached homes in October was $505,759, down 0.3% compared to September and 3% higher compared to $491,128 in October 2009.

The benchmark price of Fraser Valley townhouses in October was $319,058, a 0.9% decrease compared to September and a 2.2% increase compared to October 2009 when it was $312,339.
Year-over-year, the benchmark price of apartments increased 0.2% going from $240,048 in October 2009 to $240,542 last month and 0.4% higher compared to September 2010.

Alberta - Month-over-month price drop brings properties to 2009 housing price levels

Edmonton, November 2, 2010 - Although the all-residential average price dropped 3% in October, average prices are almost exactly what they were a year ago. Single family dwellings were sold on average for $365,691 which is just $1,434 less (-0.39%) than October 2009. Condos sold in October for about $2,000 less (-0.9%) than a year earlier at an average price of $235,893.

“Stability is the key word for the Edmonton housing market,” said Larry Westergard, president of the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. “Prices this fall are matching almost dollar for dollar with prices for the past two years. But I am pleased to report that the inventory dropped 10.6% in October, and as it returns to a more normal level, prices will start to move.”

The average all residential price in October was $317,422 compared to $327,235 in September. It was less than one percent lower than the October 2009 price of $320,184. Listing activity continued to slow with just 2,269 residential properties added in October. There were 1,077 residential sales for a sales-to-listing ratio of 44.5%. Total residential inventory was 7,689 properties at the end of October as compared to 8,602 the month prior. The average days-on-market went up to 60 days from 56 days last month.

The all-residential median price rose from $306,500 in October 2009 to $308,000 last month. “This rise in the median price stretched the range of the lower end of the market,” said Westergard. “Yet REALTORS® still found 529 properties priced under $300,000 for buyers with smaller budgets or modest housing needs in October. There is still a home suitable for every buyer in this market.” There were 32 sales of residential properties priced at over $750,000 during the same month.

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