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High interest rates kept would-be homebuyers on the sidelines in October

High inflation and rising interest rates are keeping would-be homebuyers on the sides, further driving down home sales in most metro areas.

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Home sales in both Toronto and Vancouver are well off their highs from last year, down 49% and 46%, respectively.

“There is no doubt that the sharp increases in the Bank of Canada’s policy rate and a stagnating labor market in 2022 have cooled residential activity in major urban centers in recent months,” National Bank of Canada economist Daren King wrote in a research note.

“In such a context, many buyers are probably hesitant to transact given the current uncertainties,” he continued. “With the central bank intending to push monetary policy further into restrictive territory in December, we believe sales to continue to weaken over the next few months.”

However, a continuing decline in new inventory in most markets has also helped to provide some support for home prices in recent months.

“The persistent lack of inventory helps explain why the downward trend in home prices experienced in the spring has flattened over the past three months,” noted the report from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.

Here’s a look at the October statistics from some of the country’s largest regional real estate boards:

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Greater Toronto Area

Toronto housing market statistics

Sales: 4,961

  • -49% (YoY)
  • -1.5% month-over-month (MoM)

Average price: $1,089,428

New listings: 10,390

Active listings: 13,023

“Home prices in the GTA have found support in recent months because price declines in the spring and summer mitigated the impact of higher borrowing costs on average monthly mortgage payments,” said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer. “The Bank of Canada’s most recent messaging suggests that they are reaching the end of their tightening cycle. Bond yields dipped as a result, suggesting that fixed mortgage rates may trend lower moving forward, which would help affordability.”

Source: Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB)


Greater Vancouver Area

Vancouver housing statistics

Sales: 1,903

MLS Home Price Index benchmark price: $1,148,900

New listings: 4,033

Active listings: 9,971

“Inflation and interest rates continue to dominate headlines, leading many buyers and sellers to assess how these factors impact their housing options,” said Andrew Lis, REBGV director of economics and data analytics. “With sales remaining near historic lows, the number of active listings continues to inch upward, causing home prices to recede from the record highs set in the spring of 2022.”

Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV)


Montreal Census Metropolitan Area

Montreal housing statistics

Home Sales: 2,537

Median Price (single-family detached): $510,000

Average Price (condo): $380,000

New listings: 5,440

Active listings: 16,269

“Not since 2000 has the real estate brokers’ Centris system recorded such a low level of transactions at this, usually, active time of the year,” said Charles Brant, Director of the QPAREB’s Market Analysis Department. “The magnitude of the increase in interest rates in the space of a few months and the inflationary context that is eroding the purchasing power of households are obviously the main causes.”

“We must also note a more speculative attitude among households and investors who would have the financial capacity to carry out their purchasing project, but who prefer to wait for the situation to stabilize and for market conditions to be more favourable,” he added.

Source: Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB)


Calgary

Calgary housing statistics

Sales: 1857

Benchmark Price (all housing types): $523,900

New listings: 2,175

Active listings: 3,887

“Calgary hasn’t seen the same degree of pullback in housing sales like other parts of Canada, thanks to persistently strong demand for our higher density product,” said CREB Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “While our city is not immune to the impact that inflation and higher rates are having, strong employment growth, positive migration flows and a stronger commodity market are helping offset some of that impact.”

Source: Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB)


Ottawa

Ottawa housing statistics

Sales: 987

Average Price (residential property): $677,873

Average Price (condominium): $445,691

New Listings: 2,047

“After the volatility of the past two pandemic years, which was unsustainable, the market is correcting and adjusting. The slowdown is compounded by Bank of Canada interest rate increases, which further exacerbates buyer hesitancy and weakens people’s purchasing power—especially first-time homebuyers,” said Ottawa Real Estate Board President Penny Torontow.

“Demand is still high, and with increasing inventory available, Buyers have more choices and time to shop for their new home,” she added. “However, the ongoing speculation about where prices and interest rates are headed by consumer confidence and has made some prospective Buyers take a wait-and-see approach.”

Source: Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB)

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