First National Financial LP

Residential Market Commentary - Remarkable March

  • First National Financial LP

The March report from the Canadian Real Estate Association contains some pretty astounding numbers. It is a trend we are likely to see through most of the rest of the year.

Sales volumes, prices and the rates of acceleration shot up in March.  Sales climbed 76% year-over-year and 5% compared to February.  More than 76,000 properties changed hands in March; the highest level of activity for any month, ever.

CREA’s Aggregate Composite Home Price Index was up 20% from a year ago and 3.0% from February (just shy of February’s record setting gain).  The National Average Price bounded up by nearly 32% from a year ago and now sits just below $717,000.  As usual the country’s busiest and most expensive markets skewed the average price upwards.  When Toronto and Vancouver are taken out of the calculation, the price drops to about $557,000.

While the raw numbers are remarkable, it has to be remembered that the astounding rates of change – as shown by percentages – are coming off of the incredible slump that hit the industry when the first of the anti-COVID-19 health restrictions were put in place at this time last year.  Given the nature of the market over the past 12 months we can look forward to more stunning, but somewhat misleading, y-o-y changes.

Market watchers continue to pay particular attention to the sales-to-new-listings ratio.  The number of newly listed homes was up 7.5% in March.  Combined with the rebound in February new listings rose 25% over the two months.  That added inventory is seen as the catalyst for the record breaking sales activity in March.  Despite the increase, the sales-to-new-listings ratio remains extraordinarily high at 80.5%.  The long-term average is about 54%.