There were 864 new listings in March, an increase of 7.6% vs last year. It was a welcomed increase in supply as demand for homes continued to be hot. 577 homes changed hands, an increase of 13.1% and the month ended with 535 active residential listings on MLS.
348 detached homes sold in March – up 7.1%
68 Apartment condos sold in March – up 5.1%
136 Townhouses sold in March – up 17.2%
25 Semi-detached sold in March – up 4.2%
The average home price in March hit $583,752 – an increase of 15.3% vs March last year.
Average price of a Single Detached home in March: $679,728 – up 15.9%
Average price of an apartment in March: $378,443 – up 17.9%
Average price of a Townhouse in March: $457,547 – up 23%
Average price of a Semi-detached home in March: $492,752 – up 17.4%
Void of outside information March Sale and Price data looks great. Along with inventory that looked to be moving in the right direction to help give Buyer’s more choice. However, this data is based on deals done 30-90 days prior. April may also show decent numbers that will contradict the current challenges.
I anticipate that the data we will see starting in May/June will be reflective of the world being on pause. Sales volume and average prices will likely see moves down.
The hardest part about trying to forecast in this environment is that we just don’t know how bad the economic fallout from this is going to be and what Government intervention will mean once the dust settles. I think most of us believe that the Virus is something that we can overcome in months, not years. Small business closures, the impact on commercial Landlords, unemployment, business spend cuts, loan defaults, liquidity issues and loans on balance sheets will last years. After the financial crisis there were all kinds of rules implemented that sought to protect us from over-levering ourselves. Those rules in this environment act as handcuffs for Lenders as they try to cope with Businesses large and small drawing down their lines of credit and loan facilities at the exact same time. Banks are strained. This means that the ability to borrow becomes extremely difficult because Banks need to stay away from mortgages – especially anything remotely risky – and this will be one of the major risks to our Real Estate market.
The silver lining is that it is entirely possible that the downturn will be shallow and quick. Government is acting quickly to prop up personal finances with cash payments directly to individuals that have seen their income halt. The Government is providing help to businesses so that they can keep employees and are providing access to loans, they are deferring tax payment dates, and the Bank of Canada is providing liquidity support to financial institutions.
Out of this there will be opportunity. We will see creativity and advances because of today’s challenges. And there is no doubt that we will come out of this stronger.