CREA: housing activity nearing levels seen before latest mortgage rules tightening

To recap:

  • Sales of existing homes climbed 3.6 per cent in May from April, the Canadian Real Estate Association said today. It was the largest monthly gain in nearly two and a half years.
  • The increase brings housing activity close to levels last seen in the summer of 2012, before Ottawa imposed its latest round of mortgage rules tightening in July.
  • Still, sales were down 2.6 per cent compared to May 2012.
  • Geographically, sales were up from April in two-thirds of local markets, including Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, where the housing market had been on a downward trend for almost two years.
  • The average home price rose 3.7 per cent compared to May of last year.
  • Measured through the MLS Home Price Index, which adjusts for changes in the mix of homes sold, prices were up 2.3 per cent from year-ago levels, up slightly from the 2.2 per cent gain seen in April.
  • The number of newly listed homes was up 1.9 per cent in May compared to April.
  • Nationally, there were 6.4 months of inventory at the end of May—down from 6.6 in April—meaning it would take that long to sell all current listings at the current rate of sale activity. The Canadian housing market remains “firmly in balance territory,” CREA said. A balanced market is neither a buyer’s nor a seller’s market.