Home sales cool in August, but average prices still well up from last year | CBC News

Canada’s housing market continued to show signs of a slow cool-down in August, as the number of sales ticked lower even as selling prices still headed higher compared to where they were a year ago.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said Wednesday that the number of homes sold was 0.5 per cent lower in August than it was in July — and was off by about 14 per cent compared to the number of sales clocked this time last year.

About half of all markets are seeing more houses come on the market, while the other half are seeing fewer. Shaun Cathcart, chief economist for the group that represents more than 100,000 realtors across the country, said the market seems to be moving into a new phase.

“Canadian housing markets appear to be stabilizing somewhere in between pre- and peak-pandemic levels — which is to say, still extremely unbalanced,” he said in a release.

While the market may be slowing down in many parts of the country, so far that’s not translating into lower prices in the aggregate. The average selling price of a home last month was $663,500. That’s up from the $586,000 average selling price in August 2020, but down from the all-time high of $716,000 set in March 2021, when bubble fears were bubbling over.

The CREA says the average price number can be misleading because it is easily skewed by sales in big expensive markets like Toronto and Vancouver. Instead, the organization trumpets another number — the House Price Index — because it adjusts for the types of homes sold. That figure rose by more than 20 per cent in the year up to August, after also having peaked in March 2021.

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