Canadian Real Estate Sales Start The Year Off 35% Higher

Canadian real estate sales printed yet another record during the pandemic. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data shows home sales in January 2021 hit a record. The new high for January sales came with a little slow down for growth. However, things have been so heated, even a double digit drop in growth is one of the fastest rates in history.

Canadian Real Estate Sales Hit Record For January

Canadian real estate hit a new all-time record number of sales last month. There were 36,897 unadjusted sales on the MLS in January, up 35.2% from the same month as the year before. Seasonally adjusted, that number is 61,371, up 2.0% from a month before. The unadjusted number is a record for any January. During a pandemic. 

Canadian Real Estate Sales

The unadjusted sales for all home types, as reported through the Canadian MLS.
Source: CREA, Better Dwelling.

Canadian Real Estate Sales See Growth Slow, But Still At 35%

The numbers are getting so big, it’s going to be hard to scale sales from here. Last month’s 35.2% year-over-year change is a lot smaller than the 47.2% seen in December. That wasn’t entirely unexpected. One month lower doesn’t make a trend though, even if it’s a 12 point drop. Only 8 months in the past two decades have seen larger 12-month growth. Of those, 6 of them were the year before the Great Recession. 

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.

Canadian Real Estate Sales More Than Just Pent-Up Demand

The pandemic created restrictions on sales activity, which pushed sales into later quarters. By averaging the sales, we can smooth some of the months where home sales were artificially low. The 12-month rolling average is still 46,506 for January, up 13.9% from a year before. This is a record high, even when the trough is smoothed.  This is more than just pent-up demand. It’s also pulled forward demand, commonly attributed to record low mortgage rates.

Canadian Real Estate Sales: Rolling Average

The 12-month rolling average of Canadian real estate sales.
Source: CREA, Better Dwelling.

The growth rate of sales is expected to slow after the pandemic’s forced trough that ended in June. The Bank of Canada (BoC), as well as other organizations, have forecast sales will soften in the coming months. They believe cheap money has motivated more detached home sales as a temporary trend. As the effect of cheap money fades, they see less buying. The BoC did also quietly take their foot off the gas for cheap money, which should help with the fade

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  • Trader Jim 3 years ago

    It’s the whole economy. Drop 3 points in GDP, make it all up in real estate. Haha

  • Jason 3 years ago

    The market is self perpetuating.

  • V 3 years ago

    Holding offers should be outlawed. It creates a situation where people are in a bidding war driving up prices. How a bout appraisals and what the property is really worth? All this cheap money fueled a bewildering price increase which fell off the cliff of fundamentals realtors are almost crooks. Trust me I’ve done 2 transactions in my life a buy and sell. And both times the realtors were idiots and basically ripped me off. A lot of them are damn near criminals!

    • cj 3 years ago

      I’m generally not in favour of government intervention into the market but I 100% agree with you. They need to stop this holding offers none-sense. That’s not a sale, it’s a silent auction! But there are way too many people in government and finance that are profiting from this insanity so they won’t stop it.

      • SH 3 years ago

        This entire gasbag is inflated through government intervention.

        Or is it only intervention when it cools the market rather than heating it up?

  • SB 3 years ago

    It’s called hyperinflation. Be ready for an epic crash.

    • Jon Silver 3 years ago

      Aren’t those opposites? Hyperinflation = values going up. Crash = values falling down.

  • Sam 3 years ago


  • Sam 3 years ago

    The government intervened by buying up billions of mortgage-backed securities. This ratcheted down the interest rates to propel the stupidest housing frenzy at a time when a huge correction is what was needed to bring equilibrium back to even a healthy market.

    The government has been intervening in Canadian housing for decades. But rather than managing the supply/demand to keep housing at an annual 3-5% growth rate, they’ve used housing as a significant driver of GDP.

    I used to wait for a correction. Now I don’t know what is going to happen, except to say it won’t be good and it will be much wider than just the housing market.

    All due to government mis-management.

  • Herry 3 years ago

    Excessive greed, excessive corruption. Welcome to Canada.

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