Fewer people bought homes across Canada in January than in December.
This was a bit to be expected, however: many experts rightly anticipated that homebuyers would hold off on home purchases this new year, when OSFI’s stress test rules went into effect.
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales fell by 14.5% from December 2017 to January 2018. Sales also declined in January compared to the same time of year in 2017, by 2.4%.
CREA reports that in January, the number of new home listings on the Canadian market was at its lowest level since spring 2009. New supply had in fact decreased across 85% of all local markets between December and January.
But in spite of these overarching trends, there are still some markets in Canada where home sales are red-hot.
Vancouver and the B.C. lower mainland
The biggest one is Vancouver — one of the country’s historically hottest markets for housing. In January 2018, sales increased by 16.6% on a year-over-year basis. The boost occurred in spite of the slew of housing regulations that were introduced at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels to slow the market down.
CREA reports that BC’s Okanagan Region has also seen a pick up in sales, pointing to a possible spillover from Vancouver — are more BC homebuyers looking further east for an affordable place to live?
Montreal is also doing just fine. The city is one of Canada’s largest, but in recent decades, its housing market has been quite dormant compare to its counterparts. Some of that is due to strict rent controls in Montreal, as well as a population that has grown much more slowly than Vancouver and Toronto
Only recently have sales begun to surge in the city. Some have singled out the fact that Montreal has not brought in a foreign buyer’s tax the way Toronto and Vancouver have — making it still attractive to both foreign and local speculative buyers.
Things in Edmonton are also looking up. This is encouraging: a 2015 drop in oil prices set off an economic recession in the city, slowing both home sales and prices. But on Feb. 2, the Edmonton Real Estate Board reported that home sales climbed a substantial 14.23% in January 2018, in comparison to January 2017. Sales of single-family homes, condos, and duplex/rowhouse units all contributed to the climb.
Finally, in Atlantic Canada, Greater Moncton in New Brunswick and Halifax-Dartmouth both saw sales growth. This is taking place after the Greater Moncton market saw a strong December in 2017, during which sales increased 10.2% compared to December 2016. Halifax-Dartmouth had seen a 9% sales growth in the same period.
Both cities are economic hubs in the region, and are bucking the trend of declining populations and withering economies in Atlantic Canada.