Canadian home sales through MLS® Systems increased by 2.3% from January to February 2023, with Greater Toronto Area and Greater Vancouver leading the gains. However, February’s actual monthly activity was 40% lower than the same period in 2022. The number of newly listed properties decreased by 7.9% month-over-month, while the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) declined by 1.1% and was down 15.8% year-over-year. The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average sale price recorded an 18.9% year-over-year drop in February.
Jill Oudil, Chair of CREA, suggested that homeowners might be preparing their properties for the market, and buyers may be getting mortgage pre-approvals, but it remains uncertain until the spring. Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist, noted that the similarity between 2023 and the recovery year of 2019 continued to emerge in February, with sales up, market tightening, and month-over-month price declines getting smaller. However, there was a sharp drop in seasonally adjusted new listings, indicating that future sellers may be waiting for the optimum time to list and buy something else in the spring.
The sales-to-new listings ratio jumped to 58.4%, the tightest since last April, and there were 4.1 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of February 2023. The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) declined by 1.1% on a month-over-month basis in February 2023, and it is now 15.8% below its peak level, reached in February 2022. Prices have softened almost everywhere, with Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, and St. John’s markets where home prices are barely off their peaks. The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average home price in February 2023 was $662,437, down 18.9% from the all-time record in February 2022. However, sales increases in the GTA and Greater Vancouver markets resulted in an increase of more than $50,000 from its January level.