Published on: September 16, 2015
It wasn’t just the weather that got hot in August — resale and new home sales, along with housing starts, were all rising during the dog days of summer.
“Definitely a positive month,” says Patrick Meeds, who heads the new home division for industry analyst PMA Brethour Realty Group. PMA’s monthly report shows new home sales were up 12.5 per cent over August 2014, hitting 329 sales versus 288. That was also up 1.8 per cent over July’s sales of 323.
“While (year-to-date) sales are close to eight per cent off the five-year average, sales for the month came in two per cent above the five-year average for the first time in over a year,” Meeds says. The results are also of note because there were no special project releases or launches to give a boost to sales, he adds. “We expect September sales to continue to be positive.”
On the resale front, the Ottawa Real Estate Board also showed a strong August, reporting a 6.6-per-cent increase in sales compared to August last year (1,279 versus 1,200). That’s also higher than the five-year average for the month of 1,234.
“Members had a busy August,” board president David Oikle says in a release. “In addition to an increase in units sold, inventory levels of residential and condominium properties dropped by 5.3 per cent since last month.”
There were 259 condos sold (averaging $244,801, down 7.3 per cent from last August) and 1,020 other properties (averaging $379,946, just 0.1 per cent off the August 2014 average). Cumulative days on the market averaged at 89.
“It is important to note that the increase in units sold is for both residential and condominium properties,” says Oikle. “We continue to see an increase in the number of condominium units sold in comparison to 2014, and the year-to-date condominium sales are now close to on par with last year.”
Housing starts, meanwhile, were trending at 4,943 units in August compared to 4,501 units in July, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month average that is adjusted each month to remove seasonal ups and downs to offer a more accurate month-to-month comparison while projecting the starts for the year. The starts were driven by increases in single-detached and row homes, although starts for multiple units have trended down this year while single-detached starts have trended up, CMHC market analyst Jean-Sebastien Michel says in a release.
“The greater demand for new single-detached homes is likely the result of strengthening full-time employment since the beginning of the year. Relatively high levels of unabsorbed condominium apartments have allowed builders to respond to the increased demand by launching more single-detached projects.”