Well, if you believe CREA, the average house in Canada is now selling for $409,708, which is higher than last year at this time by about 7.6%. Sales were more than in March (when it snowed every two hours), but down from a year ago. Compared to April of 2011 or 2012, they are seriously down. This, the realtors say, is ‘balanced.’
But in a word, Spring’s a bust. Sales are in a long-term decline and prices have been pushed higher as reduced demand chases diminished supply. In the biggest market, Toronto, average SFH prices actually fell during April. In the second-largest market, Montreal, overall sales plunged 9% in April – the fifth consecutive month of negative numbers. In Vancouver, sales last month were 5% below the 10-year average. In Calgary listings fell 13% and average prices rose 7%. But they’re all nuts.
This is not the snapshot of a healthy market, despite massive regional differences. In some markets, like Halifax, sales, prices and hope are sinking. In Victoria, seasoned realtors swear they have never seen so many top-end properties flood the market, with so few sales. In Winnipeg fewer houses sold last month than last year and deal numbers for the year to date are lagging the 10-year average.
It’s amazing to see such a silent spring when five-year fixed mortgages have been widely available at 2.99%, and as the pumpers at Investor’s Group bring in their 1.99% US-style teaser loan. Meanwhile our new federal finance minister stays frozen in the headlights, praying the housing correction 18-wheeler doesn’t flatten his legacy. Good luck with that.
Well, below is an illustration that captures some of the content of this blog. It comes from some site called Gold Zebra – the “business, professional and personal development hub for Gen Y women” – which scares the hell out of me. But they obviously have a bigger graphics budget than this pathetic site. That numbers are for 2013, but they make the point: no matter what you hear or read, this market is wobbly, dangerous and unsustainable.