By and large, across the nation, home sales maintained their position in the month of March.
According to a recent press release issued by CREA, “With national sales in each of the first three months of 2011 running close to their five- or ten-year monthly averages, seasonally adjusted national sales activity in the first quarter of 2011 was up 4.5 per cent from levels recorded in the fourth quarter of last year, and reached the highest quarterly level in a year. “
This rise in levels can be mostly attributed to a surge in activity in both the Toronto and Vancouver markets.
Additionally, there is speculation that the introduction of Flaherty’s mortgage changes may have pushed business forward that would not otherwise have occurred during the quarter.
Inventory levels are coming into line with buyer activity as well, with the national sales-to-new listings ratio, which is an indicator of balance between supply and demand, registered at 56.5 % in March.
Looking at this measure, more than half of the country’s markets could be considered balanced in the month of March.
"The majority of local housing markets across Canada are well balanced, but not all of them are," said Gary Morse, CREA's President. "Within a province or local market, the balance between resale housing supply and demand can vary widely and evolve quickly, so buyers and sellers should speak with a local REALTOR® to understand housing market trends where they live."
The average price across the country increased in March- 8.9% year-over-year. This increase, however, is partly because of high prices in the Vancouver area.
A record number of multi-million dollar property sales in Richmond and Vancouver West are pushing up average prices for Greater Vancouver, British Columbia and nationally," stated Gregory Klump, CREA's Chief Economist. "If Vancouver is excluded from the equation, the national average price increase is cut by more than half to 4.3 per cent."
"Looking ahead, evidence suggests that the potential rush of sales activity in March before recent changes to mortgage regulations took effect was a story that was largely focused in condo sales activity in Greater Vancouver. This confirms that the expected impact on sales activity of recent changes to mortgage regulations will likely be minor over the near term. Interest rates are now widely expected to remain on hold until at least mid-July, which is supportive for resale housing demand, market balance and prices," Klump added.