Canadian Real Estate Sales Make Longest Negative Streak Since 2009

Canadian real estate sales are off to a weak start in 2019. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) numbers show January was a slow one for sales. In fact, it’s the slowest January since 2015, when Canada was on the brink of recession. The decline also makes this the longest negative streak since the Great Recession.

Canadian Real Estate Sales Fall Over 4%

Canadian real estate sales continue to slide in the new year. CREA reported 23,968 sales across Canada, up 9.39% from the month before. This represents a 4.04% decline compared to the same month last year. The decline makes last month the slowest January since 2015.

Canadian Real Estate Sales

The unadjusted sales for all home types, as reported through the Canadian MLS.

Source: CREA, Better Dwelling.

The annual pace continues to trend lower. January 2019’s 4.04% decline is 70% larger than the year-over-year decline observed last year. Last month was also the largest annual decline for a January since 2013. This also happens to be the longest negative streak for growth since 2009. A lot of multi-year records being set, and none of them are good.

Canadian Real Estate Sales Change

The annual percent chage of unadjusted sales for all home types, as reported through the Canadian MLS.

Source: CREA, Better Dwelling.

Ottawa, Montreal, and Winnipeg Real Estate See The Biggest Jump

Canadian real estate markets with the biggest rise in sales are Ottawa, Montreal, and Winnipeg. Ottawa’s real estate board reported 836 sales in January, up 16.11% from last year. Montreal saw 2,976 sales, up 15.08% from the year before. Winnipeg saw 589 sales in January, 11.76% higher last year. Toronto is actually in fourth this month, with 4,009 sales, down 0.25% from the year before. CREA’s numbers for Toronto did not include the board’s recent revision, which made the year-over-year gain positive.

Canadian Real Estate Sales By Market

Canadian real estate sales in markets with more than 500 sales in 2018.

Source: CREA, Better Dwelling.

Western Canadian Real Estate Markets Leads Lower

Canadian real estate markets with the largest decline in sales are in Western Canada. Vancouver experienced the biggest drop with 1,120 sales in January, down 39.33% from last year. Fraser Valley was the second largest with 740 sales, down 35.26% from last year. Calgary came in third with 1,009 sales, down 17.02% from last year. The decline is several times larger than the national decline.

Canadian Real Estate Sales Change By Market

The percent change in Canadian real estate sales, in markets with more than 500 sales in 2018.

Source: CREA, Better Dwelling.

Canadian real estate sales continue to fall, with the longest negative streak since 2009. The good thing about seeing so many negative indicators are it’s easy for the trend to reverse. That is, unless a major macro pressure forces these levels even lower.

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  • Hussain 5 years ago

    There’s always going to be a rise after a sharp fall, before it trends even lower. Real estate sales are no exception to the rule.

    • Ethan Wu 5 years ago

      The dead cat bounces almost every time coming out of exuberance.

  • Ya Lan 5 years ago

    Vancouver is just getting started. Can you imagine who’s going to want to buy bitcoin at $19,000, I mean, a Vancouver condo at a million?

  • Gregory 5 years ago

    Average Boomer is 63 — not moving until death “Aging in Place Theme” is in full swing.

    • Bailing in BC 5 years ago

      Unless of course their house is also their retirement plan- which in Vancouver it often is.

  • Ken Chang 5 years ago

    Realtor mantra:
    Don’t ask why, just BUY,!!!

  • MH 5 years ago

    “The good thing about seeing so many negative indicators are it’s easy for the trend to reverse.”

    I am pro-optimizm but not sure I am getting this one right. Is going into debt deep enough considered bullish because at some point it starts looking really-really crappy?

    BTW, here is an interesting read about RE industry sales stats:

    • M.Bury 5 years ago


      Thanks for the article. I figured the stats were sketchy, but that takes the cake.

      I particularly love how they completely ignore cancelled listing when calculating Days On Market. Just this past January in the GTA there were 4916 cancelled listings vs 4009 sales, yet they tout DOM of only 33. So a house that’s been listed for months and months gets cancelled and DOM doesn’t go up?

      That’s not misleading at all.

  • CanadaSucks 5 years ago

    People are now leaving Vancouver because of the lack of jobs, high inflation and high municipal tax. The same thing is happening in Sydney Australia. The same thing might eventually happen to Toronto.

    Same thing in the US where people are leaving NY and California for State with lower taxes and cost of leaving.

    We are now seeing through Western nation of lot of migration between main cities.

  • Lou 5 years ago

    Even though sales are lower, I’m surprised that prices are so sticky.

  • Alex Beis 5 years ago

    I’m a realtor in the GTA and have been following BD for a long time. I called the detached market decline a bit early but I am surprised the condo market hasnt imploded yet. Im thinking this spring is going to be the end of that one. If you are looking to assign your precon condos or sell an existing one let me know! Sell high, rebuy low. Thats what they taught me in business school.

  • Tenzin Namdhak 5 years ago

    Has the sales of the house in GTA decreased due to the increase in the interest rate from the Bank of Canada and the expected increase in the interest rate in future? As I believe there was concern raised among the Economist about the huge pile of Debt by the Canadians and somehow the banks have to react by increase the interest rate which affected the mortgage affordability. I will be interested if you can show the relationship between the interest rate and house sales…

    • M.Bury 5 years ago


      In 2014 the average price in Toronto was around $550,000 and 5 yr fixed rates were around 2.6%.
      In April 2017 the average price in Toronto was $920,000 and the interest rates were around 2.5%.
      Prices went up 67% and interest rates stayed the same.
      With 10% down payment it takes a family income of around $260,000 per year to afford a $920,000 house.
      It’s clear the interest rates are not the problem.

  • eld 5 years ago

    Chinese investors are actually inflating housing markets in the US, Canada, and Australia for a long time. Though there has been a lot of speculation that the Chinese investment in Canada will decline due to the current conditions in the Canadian market. It’s really quite simple and safe for Chinese billionaires. listed Canada as the third most-likely country to invest in. And according to forecasts, this is only the beginning.

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