Canada News Agency

Canada's home sales down to lowest level in five years

OTTAWA, May 15 -- Canada's national home sales sank to the lowest level in more than five years in April, falling by 13.9 percent year-over-year, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said Tuesday.
 
Sales were down, and so were prices. The average price of a home sold last month went for just over 495,000 Canadian dollars (about 384,000 U.S. dollars). That figure has fallen by 11.3 percent from April 2017.
 
On a monthly basis, home sales were down 2.9 percent from March to April this year.
 
However, the number of newly-listed homes also dropped 4.8 percent between March and April this year.
 
Their decline puts the number of newly-listed homes 12 percent below the 10-year monthly average, reaching a nine-year low for the month.
 
April is typically a booming month for home sales, as warmer weather spurs sales. But listings slowed from March's level during the month, coming in 4.8 percent lower. It was the slowest April for new listings in nine years, CREA said.
 
CREA placed the blame in part on new stress test rules aimed at tightening lending standards, which came into force in January.
 
"The stress test that came into effect this year for homebuyers with more than a twenty per cent down payment continued to cast its shadow over sales activity in April," CREA President Barb Sukkau said in a news release Tuesday.
 
Activity in Toronto and Vancouver is skewing the markets. When both markets were red hot, they were pushing the average up. But now that both markets have cooled, they are pulling it lower.
 
If sales from those two markets are stripped out, CREA said the average selling price of a Canadian home in April was 386,100 Canadian dollars (about 299,000 U.S.dollars), and the annual decline shrank to just 4.1 percent. (Xinhua)