Current market characterized as stable

MLS® inventory in Winnipeg has increased over the last few months, although there was a slowdown in August in the rest of Canada, according to a Canadian Real Estate Association press release.

The most important point made in CREA’s August MLS® market release was that there is an overall stabilization in the marketplace with solid market fundamentals carrying over into the fall.

Winnipeg’s year-over-year and year-to-date price increase remained in the low double digits, but the rate of price increase has dropped off as a result of more balanced market conditions. MLS® sales at the end of August were down slightly from the same month last year, although year-to-date sales are almost equal to the record pace set in 2007. Dollar volume is up due to the price increases and more activity in higher price ranges. The $2 billion level  is already within sight with four months to go in the year.

Compared to the 25 major markets across Canada at the end of August, Winnipeg was clearly one of the most affordable markets with an average residential-detached price of $200,099. 

Other major market average MLS® residential prices are: Greater Vancouver $606,088, Victoria $491,409, Calgary $411,510, Edmonton $337,399, Saskatoon ($288,980), Regina $229,332, Toronto $385,035, Hamilton-Burlington & District $284,951, Kitchener-Waterloo $273,185, Ottawa $292,181, Montreal $257,021, Quebec City $192,481, and Halifax-Dartmouth $231,492.

Fewer new MLS® residential 

listings in August

MLS® new residential listings in Canada’s major markets retreated in 

August 2008 from record levels in the previous four months, according to statistics released by the Canadian Real 

Estate Association. With new listings down from the peak, the resale housing market is stabilizing.

After four consecutive months in which new MLS® residential listings topped 50,000 units, some 47,657 homes were listed via MLS® on a seasonally-adjusted basis in August. This is a decline of 5.3 per cent compared to the previous month. New listings have eased in many major centres, and now stand at their lowest level this year.

This trend has been most evident in Calgary and Edmonton, where fewer new listings and rising sales activity have stabilized the resale housing market. New listings remain most elevated relative to sales activity in Saskatoon and Vancouver, making them the most balanced major markets in the country.

Seasonally-adjusted MLS® sales 

activity in Canada’s major markets edged down by 3.4 per cent on a month-over-month basis to 24,887 units in August. The number of transactions was down in every market except Calgary, Edmonton and Regina, with Vancouver posting the largest decline in sales activity.

Sales activity in August was down from year-ago levels in the five most expensive major markets in Canada — Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Toronto and Edmonton. As a result, the overall major market MLS® residential average price posted another year-over-year decline in August, despite the fact that average prices recorded year-over-year gains in 20 of 25 major markets.

“When comparing statistics, remember 2007 was a record year for real estate sales in Canada,” said CREA president Calvin Lindberg. “In light of that fact, our current market can certainly be characterized as stable.”

“The Canadian market fundamentals are still solid, and mortgage rates are still at near record low levels,” the CREA president added. “The challenge is for sellers to price their home to meet the local market realities, and for buyers to realize there is no real estate bubble that will burst and send prices to new lows.”

The average sale price of residential properties sold via MLS® was $316,052 in August. This is 5.1 per cent below where it stood in August last year. 

Five major markets saw year-over-year declines in average price in August: Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, and Windsor.

“Price declines in the pricier major markets are pulling down the overall average price,” said CREA chief economist Gregory Klump. “Significantly lower sales activity in Greater Vancouver compared to a year ago means that the most expensive market in Canada now has less weight in the overall average price calculation.

“Sales activity is down in a number of resale housing markets in Western Canada that earlier posted hefty price increases. Prices continue to rise in other markets where price gains have been more modest,” added Klump.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighborhoods or 

account for price differential between geographic areas. 

MLS® is a co-operative marketing system used only by Canada's real estate boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association, one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, represents more than 97,000 REALTORS® working through more than 100 real estate boards and associations. 

CREA’s primary mission is to represent members at the federal level, and to defend the public’s right to own and enjoy property.