Canadian Home Prices Increase 6.3 Percent in February

Canadian Housing MarketResidential property prices in Canada continued appreciating in February 2015, with home sales also ticking up but at a considerably slower pace than the price increases.

Data from the Canadian Real Estate Association shows that home prices increased 6.3 percent year-over-year in February, while home sales were up by a more modest 1 percent, also year-over-year. Sales increases were more pronounced in Greater Vancouver, Greater Toronto, and the Okanagan region, as these offset declines in sales in other Canadian markets. Overall, more than half of the country’s residential markets recorded weaker sales in February as compared to the month prior.

The good thing, however, was that year-over-year price appreciation had slowed down in February for all types of homes covered by CREA’s index, except two-story single family homes, which had appreciated by 6.63 percent. Terraced homes saw their prices go up by 4.4 percent year-over-year, while single-story family homes were costlier by 4.34 percent. Apartment unit pricing appreciated by just 2.77 percent between February 2014 and February 2015.

As for price gains per market, Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver had the biggest increases year-over-year, at 7.84 percent and 6.38 percent respectively. Still, it is also worth noting that Calgary (5.96 percent) still had its slowest pace of appreciation since December 2012.

The CREA also explained that the Canadian home price average was still skewed, mainly because of activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, two of the country’s most active and premium real estate market. Removing both markets, average price appreciation would slow down to 1.5 percent, while average home pricing would be only $326,910.

“A number of buyers across the Prairies stayed on the side lines in February,” explained CREA president Beth Crosbie in a statement. “That’s likely to remain an important part of the national housing story until the outlook for oil prices starts improving. Meanwhile, home sales in British Columbia and much of Ontario are improving.”

Home supply was tighter in February as compared to the month prior, as the number of newly listed homes dropped 2.5 percent month-over-month. Greater Vancouver, the Okanagan region, and Calgary had the biggest declines in this category. Canada’s sales to new listings ratio was at 52.2 percent last month, which is right in between the threshold of 40 percent to 60 percent for perfect equilibrium in the Canadian housing market.