April Home Sales Decline

National home sales were down from March to April 2021, says the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). National home sales declined by 12.5 per cent on a month-over-month basis in April. Month-over-month declines in sales activity were observed in close to 85 per cent of all local markets, including virtually all of British Columbia and Ontario. In contrast, actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity posted a 256 per cent year-over-year gain in April, reflecting the chasm between the best April ever in 2021 and the worst ever last year. "While housing markets across Canada remain very active, there is growing evidence that some of the extreme imbalances of the last year are beginning to unwind, which is what everyone wants to see happen," says Cliff Stevenson, chair of CREA. "That said, the slowdown in sales activity between March and April was at a time that COVID cases, including very concerning variants, hit their highest levels ever and many jurisdictions enacted fresh lockdowns, making it harder to get a clear read on the underlying levels of demand and supply. 2021 may be another year where some of the spring market gets pushed into the summer by COVID-19.” The number of newly listed homes declined by 5.4 per cent in April compared to March. In a market with historically low inventory, where sales activity depends on a steady supply of new listings each month, the synchronous gains in new supply and sales in March followed by synchronous declines in April suggest the slowdown in sales may be partially about availability of listings as opposed to only a demand story. New listings were down in 70 per cent of all local markets in April. The national sales-to-new listings ratio eased back to 75.2 per cent in April compared to a peak level of 90.6 per cent back in January. That said, the long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 54.5 per cent, so it is currently still high historically.