On the heels of what was the slowest April for national home sales last year, April 2019  appeared to have provided a glimmer of hope. With sales having fallen for 15 consecutive months, April enjoyed a 4.2 percent increase on a year-over-year basis, helping to end the losing skid and perhaps prolong the near two decade-long housing boom. The uptick in sales was largely contributed to a somewhat resilient Greater Toronto housing market.

Canada home sales April
National Home sales in April by Year.

Despite a slight increase in home sales, the national home price index continued to slide lower. Prices dipped 0.3% year-over-year thanks to significant weakness in Greater Vancouver which saw home prices sink 8.5% year-over-year.

Canada HPI
Canada Home Price Index Annual Percent Change

As you can see, the softness in the national housing market is mostly out West, at least for now. Prices continue to face downwards pressure in Greater Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. While prices have slightly bounced back in greater Toronto and continue to inflate in Montréal and Ottawa.

Canada home price index by city
Home Price Index Annual Change by City.

overall this reads like a good report.  however it’s becoming glaringly obvious that there is a huge divide between the East and the West. The Canadian labour market remains robust with unemployment hovering near 40 year lows,  and of course population growth remains strong. However both of these factors are driven primarily by the strength in the Canadian housing market, which is churning out a record number of new housing units and employment in the construction sector despite some obvious weakening. Watch this space in the months ahead.

Source: Capital Economics