Canadian Real Estate Association data show that national-level home sales fell 0.9% (sa m/m) in December 2019 after rising in the previous nine months. Limited availability looks to be increasingly weighing on sales activity. The month saw another broad-based decline in new listings—18 of the 31 centres for which we have data witnessed falls—that lifted the national sales-to-new listings ratio to 66.9%. It was the highest ratio since 2004 and a third straight month of supply- demand conditions tilted in favour of sellers (after data revisions). Fourteen cities reported sellers’ market conditions; the rest were balanced. The aggregate MLS Home Price Index (HPI) rose 3.4% (nsa y/y), its best gain since March 2018.
Montreal remained Canada’s tightest local market, with rising sales and falling listings leading to yet another record-high sales-to-new listings ratio and the city’s steepest y/y MLS HPI gains since 2005. Ottawa’s ratio also reached a new high as new listings plunged by more than 20% (sa m/m), driving a record 12.5% (nsa y/y) MLS HPI increase. Toronto also crept into sellers’ market territory for the first time since March 2017—as in Montreal, home purchases rose and new listings fell—and its 7.3% (nsa y/y) HPI rise was the sharpest since 2017.