Home sales in Canada plummeted 56.8 per cent from March to April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Year-over-year, April sales were down a steep 57.6 per cent, according to figures released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
“Never in our recent history have we dealt with such widespread effects of a pandemic that limit everyone’s day-to-day life and have forced all of us to pivot and adjust to our new reality,” said CREA chair Costa Poulopoulos in a statement.
The drop in listings from March to April dropped 55.7 per cent, nearly matching the decline in sales. The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 62.4 per cent in April, down slightly from 64 per cent in March and 65.4 per cent in February.
Those figures show that while activity stepped off a cliff, demand for new listings is holding relatively steady. That’s in line with what Toronto realtors Odeen Eccleston and Meray Mansour predicted when discussing the effects COVID-19 would have on sales. “I personally believe that everything is on pause,” Eccleston, a broker with WE Realty, told NOW.
The national average price for homes sold in April 2020 dropped 1.3 per cent to just over $488,000 (that amount is not adjusted for inflation).
In Toronto, the average price for a home dropped from $910,319 in February to $821,392 in April, which is approximately in line with the drop in condo prices.
But that still represents a climb by 0.1 per cent year-over-year according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), from $820,373. Toronto prices have seen a significant cool down from what was supposed to be a hot real estate market pre-COVID.
“We thought it was going to be crazy this spring, with house prices climbing back up to the highs of 2017,” says Mansour, a broker with Re/Max Hallmark Realty. “The demand is still enough that prices are holding relatively steady. Things will only change if all of a sudden people need to sell, and the market gets saturated. And to be honest with you, it’s not looking like that’s going to happen. Everything is happening very slowly and carefully. Less places are coming on to the market. I have less and less properties to show people.”
Sales activity in Toronto took an even bigger hit in April than the national average, according to TRREB, dropping by 67 per cent with 2,975 transactions. But that figure remains in line with the drop in new listings at 64.1 per cent.
Month-to-month sales in the Greater Vancouver area declined 54.8 per cent.