By Penelope Graham

How are things shaping up in housing markets across the country? The growing narrative from CREA is that conditions are balancing out; June sales and price growth was fairly stagnant, up 0.3 per cent and 1.7 per cent year over year, respectively.

However, as agents can attest, it can be a whole different ball game at the local level, as supply and demand fundamentals can vary widely between cities and even neighbourhoods. This was certainly the case in major urban markets across the nation, according to new calculations from Zoocasa.



The data, which crunches the sales-to-new-listings ratios for 25 Canadian cities based on non-seasonally adjusted June sales and new listings data, found that none can currently be classified as a buyers’ market, with 15 broaching sellers’ territory and 10 considered to be balanced.

CREA defines a sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR) between 40 per cent to 60 per cent to be balanced, with above and below that threshold indicating sellers’ and buyers’ markets, respectively. Zoocasa’s data finds the national SNLR to sit at 59 per cent, still balanced, yet hovering near sellers’ conditions.

The numbers also reveal balance has returned to Canada’s largest markets following years of searing sellers’ conditions, as the federal mortgage stress test, combined with several provincial policies, reduced their qualified buying pools.

This is most evident in Greater Vancouver, which ranks as the second softest market in the nation with an SNLR of 43 per cent. That’s on the lower end of balanced as a -15 per cent year-over-year drop in sales has outpaced a -10.6 per cent contraction in new listings, indicating both buyers and sellers are hesitant to participate in today’s slower market. As a result, the average sale price dipped 8.2 per cent in June to $980,635 – below the $1-million mark that has long characterized the west coast city, but still well out of reach for many local prospective buyers.

Conditions are considerably friendlier for sellers in the Greater Toronto market, though it too finds itself on the more balanced end of the spectrum, in fifth place with an SNLR of 56 per cent. In the GTA, it’s more of a classic supply and demand imbalance, as sales surged by 9.6 per cent in June, while the new listings brought to market remained flat at -0.7 per cent. That’s put upward pressure on prices to $832,703.

Ontario, Quebec home to hottest sellers’ markets

While the prairie markets of Saskatoon and Regina round out the most balanced ranking with SNLRs of 42 per cent and 48 per cent (marking first and third places, respectively), the hottest action is occurring in lower-priced housing markets to the east. Montreal takes top spot for sellers’ markets with an SNLR of 94 per cent, indicating the majority of everything newly listed is changing hands. That’s reflective of a seven-per-cent increase in sales and a -1.4-per-cent drop in new listings, with the average sale price rising 6.3 per cent to $413,902.

That effect spilled into the surrounding Ottawa corridor as the Gatineau CMA and Ottawa both boasted SNLRs of 81 per cent, reflecting sales upticks of seven per cent and 1.5 per cent, while new listings fell by -13.4 per cent and -6.2 per cent in each. The average home price in each city came to $281,221 and $456,811 in June, respectively.

Check out the infographic to see which housing markets were most and least competitive in June, and how they compared to the same time period in 2018.

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