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August 2008 market watch

Blog by | August 16th, 2008

Market Watch - August 2008
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While some areas saw a remarkable increase in sales in July, average sales numbers dropped slightly in most areas throughout Canada. Homeowners continue to see a healthy return, however, it is taking a little longer to achieve a sale, and the average time on market has increased slightly, due to the fact that there are more choices available to homebuyers.


Residential sales through the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Multiple Listing Service® in July were up 14% compared to the same month last year. Only sales in July 2006 were higher than this July’s sales. As a result, the unusually high inventory level dropped to 10,501 properties as of July 31, 2008.

“Sales have been steady for the past four months and have not dropped off as they usually do in July,” said Marc Perras, President of the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. “Near record setting July sales demonstrate that sellers have accepted the market realities and have adjusted their listing prices to attract buyers. Prices are still relatively stable without any evidence of dramatic up or down swings.” There were 1,784 residential sales in July compared to 1,565 in 2007 and the record setting 2,230 in 2006.

British Columbia

British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports residential sales dollar volume on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC declined 34% to $3.31 billion in June, compared to June 2007. Residential unit sales fell 36% to 7,133 units during the same period. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $463,458, up 4% from June 2007.

“Weaker consumer confidence and eroded affordability are slowing home sales in the province,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.

In July, Fraser Valley buyers had the greatest selection of properties to choose from with a record 12,299 active listings for all property types available on the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s MLS®. This is a 56% increase compared to the number of properties available the same month last year.
A total of 1,284 sales were processed through Fraser Valley’s MLS® in July, a decrease of 35% compared to 1,984 sales in July 2007. The Board received 3,742 new listings last month, a 20% increase from the 3,120 new listings received during the same month last year.

Kelvin Neufeld, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board puts the numbers in context. “Our sales have returned to normal levels while our inventory has increased for seven consecutive months.” The average price of a single family detached home in the Fraser Valley went up 2%, an increase from $519,896 in July 2007 to $530,455 last month. The current average length of time to sell a single family home in July was 50 days.


In the City of Toronto 3,132 sales were recorded, down 14% from the 3,640 transactions in July 2007, but up 10% from the 2,852 sales recorded two years ago in 2006. Comparing July 2007 with July 2006, a period before the Land Transfer tax went into effect in Toronto, sales increased 28%.

In July, certain neighbourhoods throughout the GTA experienced a remarkable increase is sales activity. Whitby, Brampton, Uxbridge recorded a 23-25% increase in sales compared to a year ago, based primarily on semi-detached home sales. The Annex recorded a 29% sales increase due to strong detached home and condominium apartment sales.

“While homeowners continue to see healthy returns, it is taking slightly longer to achieve a sale. The average time on market has increased to 33 days compared to 31 days a year ago,” said Ms. Maureen O’Neill, President of Toronto Real Estate Board. “This may be due to that fact that there are now more choices available to the homebuyer. There are currently 26,543 active listings: a 28% increase from a year ago.”

The Hamilton-Burlington area resale market reported a total of 1,374 units sold in June, indicating a decrease of 9.8% over the same month last year, but 5.5% higher than June 2006.

The average number of days on market for a residential property sold in June was 46, only slightly higher than the 44 day average from June 2007.

“With the market stabilizing, there has never been a better time to be looking for a home,” added Ann Cosens, RAHB President. “Consumers have more properties to choose from and less pressure to make a quick decision. Prices continue to rise yet the market has a lot to offer all buyers.”

Ottawa reported a decrease of 4.2% in sales compared with July 2007.

“It’s normal for the Ottawa market to have fewer sales in July, after the busy spring market cools off a little. Also, listing inventory has declined, so the market is becoming more balanced, and a balanced market is an ideal environment in which to buy or sell a property,” said Board President-Elect Rick Snell. “Condominium sales are holding steady at 2007 levels, and the average sale price of residential properties sold on MLS® continues to rise.”

For sellers right now, you’ll need every bit of expertise and knowledge from your REALTOR® to establish a competitive price. Your agent will show you how your home stacks up with the vast number of comparable homes on the market and he/she will make recommendations as to its presentation, price and marketing strategy to ensure it gets sold.

Information in this report is collected from the Real Estate Boards operating in each area.