February home sales dipped 3.1% while prices stayed flat, CREA says

February home sales dipped 3.1 per cent while home prices stayed flat from the previous month, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

Home sales jumped 19.7 per cent from a year ago, according to CREA. The increase in part reflected weakness last year, as the result for February 2023 was one of the lowest for the month in the past two decades.

There have generally been higher levels of activity in the last three months than there were during the same period last year. Home sales in January, for example, jumped 22 per cent year over year.

“Even with the latest moderate pullback in sales, the past few months of data suggest the housing market is finding a bottom,” wrote BMO chief economist Douglas Porter in a note.

“At the same time, the Bank of Canada has consistently preached patience, and is in no rush to offer rate relief,” he added.

“Still, the torrid population growth of the past few years is a huge source of support for housing, and when rates do eventually start to come down, we expect activity to pick up in a hurry.”

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The number of newly listed properties rose 1.6 per cent month-to-month in February, with the national sales-to-listings ratio easing to a balanced 55.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, the actual national average home price was $685,809 last month, up 3.5 per cent from February 2023.

“It’s looking like February may end up being the last relatively uneventful month of the year as far as the 2024 housing story goes,” said Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s senior economist.

“With so much demand having piled up on the sidelines, the story will likely be less about the exact timing of interest rate cuts and more about how many homes come up for sale this year.”

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