March home sales are up slightly, increasing by 0.9 per cent since February, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said on Monday. But just because sales rose month-over-month doesn’t necessarily mean things are looking good on a larger scale.
Compared to a year ago, March home sales via Canadian MLS Systems fell by 4.6 per cent. They are now at the lowest level for the month since 2013, the Canadian Press reports.
“Canadian housing activity remains lacklustre, at best,” Doug Porter, chief economist at the Bank of Montreal, said in a report regarding CREA’s stats.
Porter believes people are still adjusting to recent policy changes, such as the mortgage stress test, which is why home sales have dropped year-over-year, CP reports.
CREA President Jason Stephen agrees. “It will be some time before policy measures announced in the recent Federal Budget designed to help first-time homebuyers take effect,” he said in a news release. “In the meantime, many prospective homebuyers remain sidelined by the mortgage stress test to varying degrees depending on where they are looking to buy.”
Specifically, B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan sales were more than 20 per cent below their 10-year average in March. Conversely, Quebec and New Brunswick were well above average, CREA reports.
And while the number of newly listed homes rose by 2.1 per cent — with the majority being in Winnipeg, Regina, and Victoria — the national average sale price was down for the month.
The average sale price in Canada for March was $481,745, down by 1.8 per cent year-over-year.