After plunging to their lowest level since 2012, sales of Canadian homes have inched higher for the past two months and are now about four per cent higher than they were a year ago.
The Canadian Real Estate Association said Wednesday that that home sales last month rose on an annual basis for the first time since December 2017.
That was the last month before the federal government tightened mortgage rules by implementing a “stress test” on borrowers that makes it harder to get funding to buy a home. The rules were brought in to crack down on speculators and overleveraged buyers, and the result has so far been to let out a lot of the hot air in the market.
Sales have plunged, and prices eventually stopped their multi-year run of setting new highs, month after month. On the price side of things, the average selling price of a Canadian home has fallen every month since September of last year, when the figure stood at $487,000.
CREA said Wednesday that the average price of a Canadian resale home sold in April was $495,000, up 0.3 per cent from where it was a year ago.
The group which represents 130,000 real estate agents across the country says an uptick in sales activity in the Toronto and Montreal areas was enough to offset declines in Vancouver.
“Sales there are still trending lower, as buyers adjust to a cocktail of housing affordability challenges, reduced access to financing due to the mortgage stress-test, and housing-policy changes implemented by British Columbia’s provincial government,” CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump said.
Despite the national uptick in sales, the number of homes being sold is still below the level it was at for the most of the second half of last year.
“Housing market trends are improving in some places and not so much in others,” CREA president Jason Stephen said.