CREA upgrades home sales forecast for 2019 to show 1.2% improvement

The improvement in sales was driven by the Greater Toronto Area

The Canadian Real Estate Association is upgrading its forecast for 2019 home sales, which are now expected to show a slight improvement compared with last year.

The association said home sales are projected to edge up 1.2 per cent from last year to 463,000 units in 2019 compared with its previous forecast of a decline of 1.6 per cent this year.

READ MORE: Many millennials locked out of the housing market

The updated outlook came as CREA reported home sales in May were up 6.7 per cent compared with a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase since 2016.

On a month-over-month basis, sales in May through the Multiple Listing Service were up 1.9 per cent.

“Defying the gloom-and-doomers, the Canadian housing market is gradually regaining strength, powered by falling long-term interest rates and the fastest population gains in a generation,” Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter wrote in a report.

The improvement in sales was driven by the Greater Toronto Area, which accounted for close to half of the overall increase.

“That rebound in sales has brought the GTA market back into better balance, and has helped lift prices at a moderate pace,” Porter wrote.

The national average price for a home sold in May was close to $508,000, up 1.8 per cent from a year ago. Excluding the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto Area, two of the country’s most expensive markets, the average price was just under $397,000.

Home sales softened last year in the wake of new mortgage stress test rules and a rise in mortgage rates.

However, sales have improved in recent months as mortgage rates have trended lower and the economy shows signs of rebounding after the weakness at the end of 2018 and the start of 2019.

TD Bank economist Rishi Sondhi said that markets have also had additional time to adjust to federal and provincial policy measures, which weighed significantly on activity last year.

“Moving forward, we look for sales to trend higher, lifted by a rising population, a more stable rate environment and supportive federal measures,” Sondhi wrote in a report.

CREA also pointed to several changes in the federal budget this year to help potential buyers.

The spring budget raised the maximum individual RRSP withdrawal limit under the home buyers’ plan and announced plans for a new shared equity program to help first time buyers.

However, CREA said the overall level of home sales is expected to remain below where it was in recent years and noted that the outlook for 2019 is below the 10-year average and well short of the record set in 2016, when almost 540,000 homes were sold.

Regionally, the association said New Brunswick is expected to see sales rise 10.6 per cent this year, while Quebec is forecast to climb 7.7 per cent. Ontario is expected to gain 3.9 per cent.

Home sales in British Columbia are expected to drop 13.3 per cent this year, while Alberta is forecast to fall 0.9 per cent.

The national average price is forecast to edge down 0.6 per cent to around $485,000 this year following a 4.1 per cent drop in 2018.

In 2020, CREA predicted home sales will rise 4.4 per cent to 483,200, while the national average price is forecast to edge up by 0.9 per cent to around $490,000 next year.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Letter: Clearcutting B.C.’s last old-growth leaving us poorer, forever

‘True sustainability is leaving similar values and conditions for future generations.’

Bard on the Bandstand returns with Shakespeare at the circus

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows production features gender reversed roles.

Maple Ridge residents clean up fire pit

Spend the weekend hauling out trash from Cottonwood area

PHOTO: Image of drowned father, daughter at U.S. border underlines migrants’ perils

Journalist Julia Le Duc took searing photo of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and daughter Valeria

Rock slide in B.C. river may hinder salmon passage

DFO says it is aware that the slide occurred in a narrow portion of the Fraser River

Four-hour tarmac delay violates charter rights of Canadians with a disability: lawsuit

Bob Brown says new rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Most Read