<<< back to article list

Canadian Market Watch - January 2009

Blog by | January 29th, 2009

Market watch - January 2009
Small Pic

As expected, the Canadian housing market has performed quite differently from region to region across the country. The number of units sold has decreased in double digits in some areas while prices dropped slightly in most areas. The most significant price decreases were in Canada’s most expensive city, Vancouver, which has experienced above average price increases for most of the decade. However the Canadian Real Estate market remained relatively stable compared to the market south of the border.

Alberta – Edmonton housing market repositioned after uncertain year 

Edmonton, January 6, 2009: Coming off a peak in May/June 2007, residential prices remained stable for the first part of the year but slowly slipped downward as the year progressed. The average price for all residential property sold through the Edmonton Multiple Listing Service® dropped just 5.7% during 2008, reported the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. The average* all-residential price (single family, condominiums, rowhouses and duplexes combined) was $329,705 on January 1 and fell to $310,974 by December 31.

“The Edmonton housing market peaked about a year before the rest of the country,” said Marc Perras, president of the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. “The dramatic price drops happened in the last half of 2007 and this year our market responded in an orderly manner with a slight rebound at the beginning and a slow softening in the second half. We have seen the peak and the market is settling in at this new level although there will be the usual seasonal fluctuations.”

Sales lagged through the first half of the year and the inventory reached record levels of over 11,000 properties in May. Stronger sales in the third and fourth quarters ate into inventory and by year end there were 6,316 homes available on the MLS®. Total residential sales were down 15% in 2008 as a result of the higher prices and economic uncertainly.

“Single family homes suddenly took a price drop in December but condo prices rallied,” said Perras. The average price for a single family dwelling dropped 3% to $351,870 after negligible change for two months. Condo prices, which had dropped over 8% in the two previous months, were up 1.2% over the previous month. At the beginning of the year an average SFD was priced at $382,022. At the end of December the price is just $30,000 less at $351,870. Condo prices over the year dropped from $253,270 to $234,286; a 7.5% decline. “Sellers resisted the market and global forces that dragged prices down but will eventually discover that buyers will not buy at last year’s prices,” said Perras. “Buyers have lots of choice right now and seem willing to wait until their dream house reaches their dream price point.”

At the end of December there were 6,316 homes in inventory after residential listings of 1,319 and sales of 608 in December. The sales-to-listing ratio was 46% and average days-on-market was 65 days in December (up 2). Total residential sales for the month were down at $189 million and total sales for the year were just $5.8 billion; down from $6.9 billion in 2007. Total MLS® sales were $6.6 billion down from $8.2 billion last year.



British Columbia – 2008: A year of change and opportunity for Fraser Valley

(Surrey, BC - January 5, 2009) - December’s sales statistics from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s reflect the real estate story of 2008: change. Sales of all property types for the year declined 30% in the Fraser Valley; however, sales for the month were down almost 50% compared to December 2007 – punctuating how the move to a buyers’ real estate market, similar to changes overall in the economy, took place in the second half of 2008.

Residential benchmark prices, the value of a “typical” Fraser Valley detached home as determined by the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) decreased 6.5% this year, with December showing the seventh consecutive monthly decline. The benchmark price was $496,391 in December 2007 compared to $464,189 last month. That price has decreased 9.7% since May 2008 when it was $513,798.

The HPI benchmark price of Fraser Valley townhouses decreased by 8% in one year, going from $322,295 in December 2007 to $296,296 in December 2008, while the benchmark price of apartments decreased from $247,822 to $237,786, a 4% decrease in one year.

“Prices could not have continued to increase at the pace they were over the past six years,” says Kelvin Neufeld, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. “The change in the real estate cycle has created tremendous opportunities for consumers right now and they’re starting to recognize that fact.

“Fraser Valley REALTORS® were already seeing home sales in early December surpass those of November, signalling that buyers recognize the current advantages of price reductions combined with historically low interest rates and inventory at record levels.”

Fraser Valley’s total sales volume in 2008 was 13,194 compared to 18,862 in 2007. Over the course of the year, Fraser Valley REALTORS® listed 35,651 properties, an 8% increase compared to 2007’s 32,953 listings. The number of active listings at year’s end finished at 9,960, 50% higher compared to 6,646 active listings in December 2007.

Year-to-date average prices of single-family detached homes in the Fraser Valley increased 3.4% going from $520,317 in December 2007 to $537,960 in December 2008. In one year, the average price of a townhouse increased 3.6% going from $322,578 in 2007 to $334,259 in 2008. The average apartment price increased 5.8%, reaching $229,488 in 2008 compared to $216,990 in 2007.

Nova Scotia - Real Estate plays a balancing act in Nova Scotia

(Nova Scotia - December 19, 2008) Once more, The Nova Scotia residential re-sale housing market defied national trends in November by posting a slight increase in the average MLS® residential price, while the national average dropped 9.8%. A report published by the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® shows that the average price in the province in November was $185,020, up 5% compared to November of last year.

The total value of all MLS® sales reported in the province in November was $106.9 million, down 32% from the total value of all MLS® sales in the same period of 2007, which was a record setting year. There were 632 properties sold through the MLS® in Nova Scotia in November, a decline of 34% from the same period of 2007.
During November, the decline in sales combined with a higher number of active listings pushed the real estate market in Nova Scotia towards a more balanced position. There were 999 new residential listings added in November and by the end of the month there were 7,257 active residential listings, a 16% increase in the number of active listings compared to November of last year.

The MLS® average price of a residential property was $185,020 Up 5% compared to November 2007.
“Sales activity continues to slow from its record setting pace in 2007 and we expected this to happen. There are no surprises in our market, just balance,” says NSAR President Robert Wambolt. “The average price in Nova Scotia has not followed the double digit swings in other markets which means more stability now. Our real estate markets in Nova Scotia have avoided the major price hikes so we aren’t seeing the major adjustments there are in some other Canadian markets.”

“The biggest challenge for the Nova Scotia real estate market perhaps is public perception. Our real estate market is local, but the national messages people are hearing and applying to our Province has the ability to create a negative impact on consumer confidence. It is important for Nova Scotians to know that because we did not experience the major highs like some other markets, we are not experiencing the major lows.”

Ontario - A market correction not a crash.

Ottawa’s 2008 resale market: more balance, less booming
(Ottawa, January 6, 2009) Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 467 residential units in December, a decrease of 18.8% over December 2007, when there were 575 sales. This brings the total number of residential properties sold through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system in 2008 to 13,733, down from a record-setting 14,565 in 2007. However, the average price for all of 2008 was $289,766, an increase of 6.3% over 2007.

“We are seeing the effect of consumer concerns about the national and international economy reflected in the Ottawa market, but the fact that the average sale price is fairly stable shows the underlying confidence in the local marketplace,” said 2009 Board President Rick Snell.

“Ottawa remains a relatively stable resale housing market, buffered by a strong job market and a stable economy, but will of course be affected by the ongoing economic climate in the rest of Canada. Real estate is local, and Ottawa is still in fairly good shape compared to many areas of the country,” Snell added.

The average price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in December in the Ottawa area was $272,192, a marginal decline of 1.2% over December 2007.

GTA - 2,500 Sales in December, 74,000 in 2008

(Toronto - January 9, 2009) TREB Members reported 2,577 sales in December 2008, compared to the 4,646 recorded during the same month in 2007, and the 4,447 recorded in December 2006, TREB President Maureen O’Neill announced today. “Sales for the whole of 2008 were 74,552, compared to the 93,193 recorded in 2007, and the 83,084 recorded during 2006.”

The average price in December 2008 came in at $361,415, compared to $394,931 last year, and $336,217 in December 2006. For 2008 as a whole, prices averaged $379,347, compared to the $376,236 recorded in 2007, and $351,941 recorded in 2006.

The City of Toronto (416) recorded 1,105 sales in December 2008, compared to 2,302 in December 2007 and 1,827 in December 2006. For all of 2008, there were 29,878 sales, compared to 39,052 in 2007 and 34,404 in 2006.
The average price in the city was $387,482 compared to the $425,842 recorded in December 2007 and the $350,139 recorded in December 2006. For all of 2008 the average price was $410,271. In 2007 the comparable figure was $412,480, and in 2006 $378,776.

The 905 area saw 1,472 sales in December 2008, from 2,344 in December 2007 and 2,620 in December 2006. For all of 2008, there were 44,674 sales in this region, versus 54,141 in 2007 and 48,680 in 2006.
The average price in the 905 area was $341,847 in December 2008, compared to $360,307 in 2007 and $326,509 in 2006. For all of 2008, the average price was $358,665, as compared to $350,092 in 2007 and $332,976 in 2006.

Breaking down the total, 993 sales were reported in TREB’s 28 West districts and the average price was $338,855; 473 sales were reported in the 14 Central districts and the average price was $479,095; 491 sales were reported in the 23 North districts and the average price was $381,975; and 620 sales were reported in TREB’s 21 East districts and the average price was $291,488.

The median price for December 2008 was $305,000, compared to $320,950 in 2007 and $290,000 in 2006. For all of 2008, the Median was $325,000, as opposed to $320,950 in 2007 and $299,000 in 2006.

Hamilton - Balanced market now in full swing
(Hamilton - November 4, 2008) The Hamilton-Burlington area resale market reported a total of 926 units sold in October, indicating a decrease of 27.3% over the same month last year.

The total unit sales for the first 10 months of 2008 are being reported at 9.8% lower than the same period last year, while new units listed are 5.2% higher for the year-to-date, according to Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) statistics released by the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB).

“Although we saw a small reprieve in September, October continues the slowing trend that has defined 2008, and for the first time the average price has decreased,” said Ann Cosens, RAHB President. “A number of factors have lead to this down turn including: decreased consumer confidence; the global economy; and changes in Canada’s mortgage lending laws, which limit government-guaranteed mortgages to amortization periods of 35 years or less and with at least a 5% down payment, as of October 1st.”

Residential properties sold during October totalled 889 which included 706 freehold properties and 183 condominiums. Commercial sales for October, including industrial, farm, vacant land and business, totalled 37 units.

The average price of freehold residential properties sold in the month of October was $268,805, a decrease of 8.7% over the same month last year. In the condominium market the average price of condominiums in October was $196,899, a decrease of 7.2 \% over October 2007. The average sale price reflects the dollar volume of residential sales divided by the number of total residential units sold.

October’s total residential average sales price decreased 8.6% over the same month in 2007, but is still up 4.9% for the year to date.

The total number of units listed for sale during October was 1,849, which is 18.4% more than were listed in the same period in 2007.

“With the market stabilizing, it’s a good time to be looking for a home,” added Cosens. “With 5,512 properties currently on the market, consumers have more properties to choose from and less pressure to make a quick decision. For those looking to sell, the value of using a licensed REALTOR® cannot be underestimated.”


Alexandra Rebagliati

Associate Broker

Tel: 250.870.2792