With the focus shifting toward the holiday season,
December sales activity slowed to 878 units in the city, 18 per cent
below last year at this time and well below the five and 10-year
As a result, the unadjusted benchmark price dipped to
$448,800, a 0.42 per cent decline over the previous month and 2.33 year
CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie noted December
followed a pattern established early on in 2015, which was characterized
by slower housing demand.
“Economic uncertainty, followed by weak economic
conditions and job losses, contributed to slowing housing demand
throughout the year,” she said.
“That said, while aggregate prices trended down in
2015, it was not to the same extent as some had speculated. Supply levels
were low moving into this cycle and thus provided some cushion to absorb
the inventory gains.”
In December, monthly inventory levels declined, as
expected, to 4,336 units. Yet they were still 28 per cent higher than the
same time last year, and at the highest December level recorded since
Inventory levels were notably up in both the apartment
and attached sectors, which neared the highest December total on record.
“December showed that buyers in this market are
continuing to be much more cautious as the impact of further oil price
declines weighs on their confidence,” said CREB® president Corinne Lyall.
“Some sellers, meanwhile, are concerned about what
supply levels may look like next year and are not delaying their
On an annual basis, sales activity declined by 24 per
cent in the detached sector and 33 and 28 per cent in the apartment and
attached segments, respectively.
While months of supply in 2015 trended higher in all
sectors, the apartment was the only one to average above four for the
entire year. As a result, the apartment sector was also the only one to
record an annual decline in average benchmark price, by 0.82 per cent.
While December prices for both the detached and
attached sectors were 1.91 and 1.29 per cent lower than levels recorded
at the beginning of 2015, on an annual average basis, they remained 1.35
and 1.84 per cent above 2014 numbers. “Aggregate statistics often do not
provide the full story as activity varies by product type, price ranges
and location,” said Lyall.
“While prices have trended down this year citywide,
there are some areas of the city where prices for detached homes have
improved compared to the start of the year.”
*CREB® is ranked as one of the largest real estate boards in Canada. It is a professional body of 4,900 licensed brokers and registered associates, representing 235 member offices. One of the main functions of CREB® is the operation of the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System.