The average price of a Canadian home that sold in December was $626,318, a decline of more than 12 per cent from where it was the same month a year ago.
The Canadian Real Estate Association, which represents more than 150,000 realtors across the country, released new numbers about the country's housing market on Monday, showing that the number of homes sold and the prices they fetched were both sharply lower in December than they were the same month a year earlier.
Sales fell by more than 39 per cent from December 2021's level. And prices were also well down from an average of $713,500 at the end of 2021, and a peak of $816,720 reached in February 2022, before the Bank of Canada started aggressively raising lending rates.
The realtor group says the average selling price can be misleading since it is easily skewed by sales of expensive homes in places like Toronto and Vancouver. So it tabulates a different number — known as the House Price Index — that adjusts for the volume and type of housing sold.
The HPI was down by 13 per cent from its peak last year, with Ontario and British Columbia seeing the biggest declines, while just about everywhere else saw either small declines or even slight increases in some cases.
How house prices have changed in Canada's major cities
On an annual basis, the HPI went up by 2.4 per cent in Victoria, 8.6 per cent in Calgary, 6.4 per cent in Quebec City and 6.3 per cent in Halifax, CREA says.
In Saskatoon, where Guylaine Patenaude lives, the market is essentially flat, but that suits her just fine. She recently sold the condo she has owned in the city for 15 years, and is now on the hunt for something larger.
She's relieved to have sold, and says it's nice to be able to be a little choosy on what she hopes will be her forever home. And even after the uptick in lending costs, mortgage rates right now are about the same as what they were the first time she bought, in 2008.
"That's encouraging in the sense that I can still afford what I hope to afford," she told CBC News in an interview.
Rishi Sondhi, an economist with TD Bank, says that while it's clear that Canada's housing market has cooled significantly from its red-hot status earlier in the pandemic, the numbers for December "signal that a bottom in the housing market may be forming."
Prices fell by 0.3 per cent on a monthly basis, the smallest decline since the market began correcting in March.
"With new listings dropping significantly last month and the level remaining low, there are no real signs so far that forced selling is dominating the supply picture."
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