July 15, 2021
Today the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released statistics showing national existing home sales fell 8.4% nationally from May to June 2021, marking the third consecutive monthly decline. Over the same period, the number of newly listed properties fell 0.7%, and the MLS Home Price Index rose 0.9%, a marked deceleration from previous months.
Activity nonetheless remains historically high, but in contrast to March’s all-time record, it is now running closer to levels seen in the first half of 2020. While sales are now down a cumulative 25% from their peak, and below every other month in the last year, June transactions still managed to set a record for that month (see chart below).
For the second month in a row, sales were lower in every province. The steepest drops were in B.C. (-14.6% m/m) and the Atlantic provinces (down a combined 9.8% m/m). In Ontario, sales fell 9.0% m/m. They posted a much smaller 1.9% m/m drop in Quebec.
June’s decline was helped along by stricter stress test rules implemented at the beginning of the month. We expect these rules to continue to weigh on demand in the near term, although the amount of tightening this time around (+46 bps) pales in comparison to early 2018 (+220 bps), the last time the rules were changed.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions in June 2021 was up 13.6% on a year-over-year basis.
“While there is still a lot of activity in many housing markets across Canada, things have noticeably calmed down in the last few months,” said Cliff Stevenson, Chair of CREA. “There remains a shortage of supply in many parts of the country, but at least there isn’t the same level of competition among buyers we were seeing a few months ago.”
Dr. Sherry Cooper
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres