Canadian home sales set new record in August, CREA says

August saw a record-setting month for home sales and prices in Canada.

According to the latest figures that the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released on September 15, the national average home price set another record in August, jumping 18.5% to more than $586,000, driven largely by sales in Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) — two of Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets.

Home sales across the country also broke the monthly record, rising 6.2% in August compared to July. It is 33.5% more than the number of homes sold a year ago.

Unlike the previous two months in which activity was up right across the country, home sales in August were up in about 60% of local markets, led by the GTA and British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, CREA says.

August also saw a considerable amount of new supply become available in the GTA and Lower Mainland. The number of newly listed homes posted a further 10.6% gain in August. New supply was up in close to three-quarters of local markets, led by gains in the Lower Mainland, the GTA and Ottawa.

“It has been a record-setting summer in many housing markets across Canada as realtors and their clients play catch up following the loss of so much of the 2020 spring market,” CREA chair Costa Poulopoulos said in a statement. “It really does seem that the spring market shifted into the summer.”

Many markets dealing with inventory shortages have been seeing “fierce competition” among buyers this summer, he added.

Robert Hogue, a senior economist with RBC Economics, said in a September 15 monthly housing market update that the pandemic completely disrupted normal seasonal patterns.

“The dramatic plunge in activity in March and April turned out to be just a temporary pause. Buyers and sellers came running back this summer and quickly made up earlier declines,” Hogue said in the market update.

The recovery has been uneven, he notes, with some hard-hit markets still lagging.  

Hogue says he expects this pent-up demand that drove activity in the housing market to cool down later this fall “but stay well out of the deep-freeze zone — provided the public-health situation continues to allow the market to operate openly.”

Jean Lian is Head of Communications and Brand Marketing with HomeLife Realty Services Inc. Email Jean at marketinghomelife@gmail.com.