We have seen varying rates of real estate activities this summer. Some regions showed increased sales activity while other areas had a slight gain in sales numbers.
Increased demand for ownership housing has been based on improving economic conditions, in terms of monthly GDP growth and job creation, and the continuation of very low borrowing costs. In addition, fewer households have chosen to go on vacation as a result of COVID-19 and instead have remained in the country and been active in the housing market, satisfying pent-up demand from the spring.
August’s resale numbers were undoubtedly driven by the considerable increase in new listings that came onto the market in both July and August. The question that comes to mind is: what is propelling these new listings? Well, there are several contributing factors; there are Sellers that are ready to capitalize on their investments, there are those who may be moving into new builds or further out of the city, and let’s not forget boomers who are downsizing or perhaps moving into rentals.
Ontario - Home Sales Continued With a Record Result in August.
Toronto, September 02, 2020 -- Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) President Lisa Patel announced that the strong rebound in Greater Toronto Area (GTA) home sales continued with a record result for the month of August. GTA REALTORS® reported 10,775 residential sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in August 2020 – up by 40.3% compared to August 2019.
Sales were up on a year-over-year basis for all major home types, both in the City of Toronto and surrounding GTA regions. It should be noted that the low-rise market segments, including detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses, were the drivers of sales growth. Condominium apartment sales were up on an annual basis for the second straight month but to a lesser degree.
“Increased demand for ownership housing has been based on improving economic conditions, in terms of monthly GDP growth and job creation, and the continuation of very low borrowing costs. In addition, fewer households have chosen to go on vacation as a result of COVID-19 and instead have remained in the GTA and been active in the housing market, satisfying pent-up demand from the spring,” said Ms. Patel.
Both the number of new listings entered into TRREB’s MLS® System during the month and the number of active listings at the end of the August 2020 were up on a year-over-year basis. While new listings were up strongly for all home types, growth in new condominium apartment listings far outstripped growth in the other market segments.
“Generally speaking, market conditions remained very tight in the GTA resale market in August. Competition between buyers was especially strong for low-rise home types, leading to robust annual rates of price growth. However, with growth in condominium apartment listings well-outstripping condo sales growth, condo market conditions were comparatively more balanced, which was reflected in a slower pace of price growth in that segment,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst.
The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 11.1% in August 2020 compared to August 2019. Over the same period, the overall average selling price was up by 20.1% to $951,404. Annual detached and semi-detached sales growth was stronger in the comparatively more-expensive City of Toronto compared to the surrounding GTA regions, which helps explain why growth in the overall average selling price outstripped growth in the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark.
Ottawa - Temperatures Cool, but Not Ottawa’s Resale Market
Ottawa, September 3, 2020 -- Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 2,017 residential properties in August through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 1,725 in August 2019, a year over year increase of 17%. August’s sales included 1,576 in the residential-property class, up 22% from a year ago, and 441 in the condominium-property category, an increase of 2% from August 2019. The five-year average for August unit sales is 1,668.
“August’s resale numbers were undoubtedly driven by the considerable increase in new listings that came onto the market in both July and August,” states Ottawa Real Estate Board President Deb Burgoyne. “There were at least 300 more residential and 175 more condo listings added to inventory than we saw last year at this time. In fact, we have not seen new listing numbers like this since August 2015,” she adds.
“The question that comes to mind is: what is propelling these new listings? Well, there are several contributing factors; there are Sellers that are ready to capitalize on their investments, there are those who may be moving into new builds or further out of the city, and let’s not forget boomers who are downsizing or perhaps moving into rentals.”
“Whatever their motivations, if the rate at which properties are coming onto the market can be sustained, it will surely bring some much-needed balance. For some time, as inventory comes on the market, it is quickly being absorbed. If this increased listing trend continues, at some point, the housing stock may finally build to a point that demand is going to be somewhat satiated,” Burgoyne proposes.
August’s average sale price for a condominium-class property was $383,640, an increase of 24% from this time last year, while the average sale price of a residential-class property was $592,548, an increase of 22% from a year ago. With year to date average sale prices at $566,291 for residential and $357,779 for condominiums, these values represent a 17% and 19 percent increase over 2019, respectively. *
“A culmination of factors has been playing into the price increases in Ottawa’s resale market. Certainly, multiple offers are a dominant element. The reason that we have so many offers highlights the number of active buyers in the market – due to a variety of dynamics, such as record low mortgage rates, recently announced decreased debt/equity thresholds, migrating buyers coming from larger markets who may have received high returns on their home sales, etc. When you add these to the already pent-up demand from our local residents, it has created a perfect storm, so to speak.”
“This is an extremely challenging market for many, especially those on the buying side. Many are experiencing what we call ‘buyer burnout’, having placed many offers without success. We perceive a change in buyers behaviour regarding expectations, that were perhaps, until recently ‘hyped’, or a product of watching a myriad of home improvement shows and/or visiting new builder model homes. Our current reality is perhaps making some buyers more pragmatic and compromising on what they accept, whether it’s a home’s condition, age, or location,” Burgoyne suggests.
“What we need to be cognizant of is that Ottawa is a capital city and a growing city, that until now has been well-insulated when it comes to resale prices. If you look at other larger cities, they have gone through this already. We are just in the early stages, with no end in sight at this point. I suspect that prices are not going to come down, nor is activity going to slow down in the near future. Whether you are on the buying or selling side of a transaction, this is not the kind of market to navigate without guidance. An experienced REALTOR® will ensure Buyers are making strategic offers, and Sellers are not leaving money on the table.”
In addition to residential and condominium sales, OREB Members assisted clients with renting 2,232 properties since the beginning of the year compared to 1,906 at this time last year.
Britsh Colombia - Housing Markets Heat Up as Summer Ends
Vancouver, BC – September 14, 2020. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 10,172 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in August 2020, an increase of 42.8% from August 2019. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $771,309, a 12.7% increase from $684,093 recorded the previous year. Total sales dollar volume in August was $7.8 billion, a 61.1% increase over 2019.
“Very strong provincial home sales continued in August,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “While pent-up demand from the spring is driving much of the increase, we anticipate a sustained strong level of sales through the fall.”
Total provincial active listings are still down more than 10% year-over-year, with some markets even more under-supplied as the pandemic continues to keep listings low. As a result, prices are sharply rising around the province.
Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 15.8% to $40.4 billion, compared with the same period in 2019. Residential unit sales were up 4.9% to 53,336 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 10.4% to $757,504.
Alberta - August home sales consistent, but COVID-19 impacts continue
City of Calgary, September 1, 2020 –- Total residential sales in August were relatively stable compared to last year with year-over-year gains in the detached and row sectors.
These gains offset declines in the apartment and semi-detached products.
With 1,573 sales in August, this is consistent with levels over the past five years. Year-to-date sales activity remains nearly 13% below last year.
“Recent national reports have shown a bounce back to new record levels over the past several months. Calgary has seen improvements over the lows recorded during the lockdowns but is far from record levels,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
“The situation in Calgary has been slightly different as the job losses were not isolated to sectors that are typically associated with rental demand. We have started to see improvements in the job market compared to previous months as some jobs start to return.”
However, the impact of COVID-19 on the economy is not over.
“There have been more than 100,000 jobs lost since last year and Calgary’s unemployment rate sits at 15%. This is well above the national average of 11%,” said Lurie.
New listings are easing and is helping to chip away at existing inventory compared to the higher levels recorded last year. However, the pace of year-over-year decline has eased as inventory levels have trended up relative to levels recorded a few months ago.
The months of supply has also risen compared to the past few months and now sits at four months. This gain has slowed some of the monthly gains on prices. The residential benchmark price in August was $420,800 and is nearly one% lower than last years’ levels.