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Real Estate Market Information

      Welcome to the Real Estate Market information section. Our aim is to provide you, the consumer, with the latest information on your local market statistics and national housing trends so that you can make informed decisions regarding the purchase or sale of your most important investment – your home.
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Canadian Market Overview
Date Released: February 2012

Housing starts decreased in January

New Home Market - The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 198,000 units in January, down 0.9 per cent from 199,800 units in December. Starts have been in line with the trend for two consecutive months. The slight decrease posted in January was attributable to a decrease in Québec and in Atlantic Canada. The multiple starts segment accounted for most of the reduction in those two regions.

Urban single starts decreased, while urban multiple starts remained relatively stable in January - The seasonally adjusted annual rate of total urban2 starts decreased by 2.6 per cent to 176,700 units in January compared to 181,500 units in December 2011. Urban single starts decreased 7.5 per cent to 65,000 units, while urban multiple starts remained relatively stable, up 0.4 per cent to 111,700 units in January.

Urban starts decreased in Atlantic Canada and in Québec - In January, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased in Atlantic Canada (-35.4 per cent), and in Québec (-34.4 per cent). On the other hand, urban starts posted an increase in the Prairie region (2.3 per cent), Ontario (11.1 per cent), and in British Columbia (29.0 per cent).

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of rural starts was 21,300 units in January compared to 18,300 units in December.

The stock of unabsorbed new housing was stable - The stock of unabsorbed new housing units was relatively stable over the past year, indicating consistent strength in demand for newly constructed homes. After recording higher levels of unabsorbed units on . the market in 2009, above the 8,500 unit mark, the number of new and unoccupied singles and semis has fl uctuated narrowly between 5,500 and 6,200 units during 2011. In January 2012, the number of new and unoccupied single homes reached 6,080, close to the historical average. With respect to multiples, the number of new and unoccupied units oscillated within a band between 12,600 and 14,200 units, standing at 13,258 units in January 2012.

New house prices were up in December - The New Housing Price Index (NHPI) increased 2.5 per cent in December 2011 compared to December 2010. This is the same as the year-over-year increase that was observed in November 2011. New home prices increased in 17 out of 21 centres. The largest increases in the NHPI were in Toronto and Oshawa (6.3 per cent), followed by Regina (5.3 per cent) and Winnipeg (4.6 per cent). Declines were registered in Victoria (-1.6 per cent), Vancouver (-0.3 per cent), Calgary (-0.1 per cent) and St. John’s (-0.1 per cent).

Existing Home Market - MLS® sales slowed down in January. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of MLS® (Multiple Listing Service®) sales decreased 4.5 per cent to 459,528 units in January, compared to 481,380 units in December 2011.

MLS® new listings declined in January - The seasonally adjusted annual rate of MLS® new listings in January was 854,520, a decrease of 1.4 per cent from 866,976 in December last year.

The Sales-to-New-Listings ratio at the upper limit of a balanced market - An indicator of price pressure in the existing home market is the sales-to-new-listings ratio4. New listings are a gauge of the supply of existing homes, while MLS® sales are a proxy for demand. The sales-to-new-listings ratio for Canada moved into the balanced market in January, yet remained near the upper limit of balanced market conditions at 53.8 per cent, down from 55.5 per cent in December.

MLS® price increased in January - The January seasonally adjusted average MLS® price in Canada increased by 1.6 per cent to $362,556 from $356,783 in December. The unadjusted MLS® average price increased 0.9 per cent in January to $348,178 from $344,956 a year ago.

Economic conditions - According to Statistics Canada, month-over-month seasonally adjusted employment stayed virtually unchanged, up by 2,300 jobs in January. This increase was driven by gains in part-time employment (up by 5,900 jobs), while full-time employment declined by 3,600 jobs.

Among the provinces, monthover- month seasonally adjusted employment increased mainly in Québec (9,500 jobs), Alberta (1,900 jobs), and Saskatchewan (1,800 jobs). This was offset by decreases primarily attributable to Ontario, which posted a loss of 7,500 jobs in January.

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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