CREA Resale Housing Forecast 2016-2017
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations in 2016 and 2017.
Canadian housing market trends have evolved largely as expected since CREA last published its forecast in September. Ontario sales continue to set new records despite an unprecedented supply shortage in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and throughout the surrounding region (Greater Golden Horseshoe).
Mortgage regulations were further tightened following CREA’s previous forecast. In the near term, tightened regulations are expected to reduce the number of first-time buyers who qualify for mortgage financing, particularly in pricier markets where there is a severe shortage of lower-priced listings. Tightened mortgage regulations and lending guidelines are also expected to increase capital costs for lenders, resulting in modest increases in mortgage interest rates in 2017. These regulatory headwinds were not a factor at the time of CREA’s previous forecast, and have resulted in downward revisions to the forecast for sales and average price in 2017.
Nationally, sales activity is projected to rise by 6.2% to 536,700 units in 2016. This represents a slight upward revision from CREA’s previously forecast increase of 6.0%. However, the forecast for sales activity was revised upward for Ontario and downward for British Columbia.
Annual sales for 2016 would represent a new annual record for national activity, up 3.3% from the previous record set in 2007. That said, after adjusting for population growth, sales are nonetheless expected to remain below the 2007 peak.
Among Canada’s most populous provinces, British Columbia is still forecast to post the largest annual increase in activity (+10.0%) due to unprecedented strength in sales there early this year. Ontario’s annual increase in sales (9%) is anticipated to be nearly as large.
Year-over-year average price gains have continued to accelerate in Ontario amid strong demand in the face of an unprecedented supply shortage.
As a result, the projected annual average price for Ontario in 2016 has again been upwardly revised compared to CREA’s previous forecast. As with the revisions to forecast sales, revisions to average price forecasts for Ontario & British Columbia mostly offset each other at the national level.
The national average price is now projected to rise by 10.5% to $489,500 in 2016, with a slightly smaller gain in British Columbia ($688,300; 8.1%) and a larger gain in Ontario ($535,700; 15.1%).
In 2017, national sales are forecast to number 518,900 units, representing a decline of 3.3% compared to projected activity this year. Transactions in B.C. and Ontario are anticipated to remain strong but fall short of this year’s record levels due to deteriorating affordability, an ongoing shortage of affordably priced listings for single family homes and tightened mortgage regulations. British Columbia home sales are forecast to decline by 12.2%, while annual sales in Ontario are forecast to retreat by 2.7%.
The national average price is forecast to decline by 2.8% to $475,900 next year, with modest price gains near or below inflation in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, together with small declines of a similar magnitude in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The forecast dip in the national average price in 2017 along with a decline in British Columbia is expected to be similar to the trend in 2012, when a more normal year for activity in Greater Vancouver followed record level sales activity for multi-million dollar homes in 2011. As such, the forecast decline reflects the influence exerted by the composition of sales activity on average price (as it did in 2012 versus 2011).
Meanwhile, an ample supply of listings relative to demand is anticipated to keep price gains in check in other provinces, although sales have begun to draw down inventories in provinces where supply had been elevated in recent years.
About The Canadian Real Estate Association
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 115,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.
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