OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian home sales jumped 7.2% in December from November, setting a new record amid surging demand in the Greater Toronto and Vancouver areas, the Canadian Real Estate Association said on Friday.
The industry group said actual sales, not seasonally adjusted, rose 47.2% from a year earlier, while the group’s Home Price Index was up 13.0% on a year-over-year basis and up 1.5% from November.
The record-breaking December capped off a record year for Canadian real estate, with more than 550,000 homes trading hands despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which some economists and real estate experts had feared would lead to a housing crash.
“Despite all the challenges, 2020 was a record year for Canadian resale housing activity,” Costa Poulopoulos, chair of CREA, said in a statement, adding that the momentum was continuing into 2021.
The industry group noted that the number of homes listed for sale in Canada on Jan. 1 was the lowest on record, which coupled with new restrictions amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and lockdowns, pointed to further supply tightness in 2021.
“So we have record-high demand and record-low supply to start the year. How that plays out in the sales and price data will depend on how many homes become available to buy in the months ahead,” said Shaun Cathcart, senior economist with CREA.
Regionally, the markets with the largest year-over-year price gains – up more than 30% – were in smaller Ontario towns and cottage communities outside of Toronto. Followed by satellite cities around Toronto.
Homes in British Columbia and the prairie provinces were up by 5% to 10% on the year, with Alberta home prices gaining less than 3%.
Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa, additional reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao