Not A Single Major Canadian Real Estate Market Is A Buyer’s Market

Must be something in the water… or credit supply, since every Canadian market is becoming tight. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data shows the sales to new listings ratio increased across the country in December. The rising ratios made for an unusual month – not a single major real estate market across Canada is a buyer’s market.


The sales to new listings ratio (SNLR) is one way to measure relative demand for inventory. The ratio is exactly what it sounds like – the ratio of home sales, compared to newly listed homes for sale. Using this measure, we get some idea of how quickly inventory can be replenished. The industry uses this as one of the methods of determining if a market is hot or not.

The hard work is collecting the numbers – after that, it’s a straightforward read. If the ratio is above 60, it’s a seller’s market – where prices generally rise. If it’s below 40, it’s a buyer’s market – where prices generally fall. Between 40 and 60, and the market is priced right for the demand at the time.

There’s a few caveats – most notable is velocity. Fast moving markets tend to act in the direction they’re heading. That is, if it’s a buyers’ market, but the ratio is rising fast – the market might start to act like a balanced or sellers market. It’s always best to use this indicator as just one of the market measures, when assessing how a market is doing.

The SNLR Is Rising Across Canada

Cities across Canada are seeing inventory get tighter, as the national ratio rises. The SNLR for the aggregate of Canadian cities reached 59.7% in December, up 4.8% from last year. The same month last year dipped, but the market is currently above 2017 levels. Yes, it’s not just your market getting tight – markets across the country are seeing demand rise.

Eastern Canada Sees The Largest Increases

The markets seeing the largest increases are all located in Eastern Canada. Halifax’s SNLR reached 78.6% in December, up 13.9% from last year – the biggest increase in Canada. Montreal follows with the SNLR hitting 78.4%, up 8.7% in the same period. Ottawa made the third biggest increase with an SNLR of 77.8%, up 8.1% from last year. Important note – all 3 markets, have seen the December SNLR rise for at least two consecutive years.

Sales To New Listings Ratio

The sales to new listings ratio in selected Canadian residential real estate markets.

Source: CREA, Better Dwelling.

The Biggest Losers Are In Southern Ontario

Southern Ontario is seeing the biggest drops to SNLR across Canada. Windsor leads with an SNLR of 70.4% in December, down 5.2% from last year. London follows with an SNLR of 72.9%, down 2.5% over the same period. Victoria came in third with a ratio of 60.3%, down 1% from a year before. Important to note, all 3 markets with the largest declines are still sellers markets.

Sales To New Listings Ratio Change

The percent change in sales to new listings ratio selected Canadian residential real estate markets.

Source: CREA, Better Dwelling.

December is an unusual month, since not a lot of people sell during this period. However, this year we saw a substantial rise in buying activity. Naturally, an unusual winter surge in buying activity would kill a lot of inventory. Either almost every single major market is hot across the country, or Canada is pumping too much cheap credit into its housing markets.

Like this post? Like us on Facebook for the next one in your feed.


We encourage you to have a civil discussion. Note that reads "civil," which means don't act like jerks to each other. Still unclear? No name-calling, racism, or hate speech. Seriously, you're adults – act like it.

Any comments that violates these simple rules, will be removed promptly – along with your full comment history. Oh yeah, you'll also lose further commenting privileges. So if your comments disappear, it's not because the illuminati is screening you because they hate the truth, it's because you violated our simple rules.

  • Rob Turner 2 years ago

    Hit the nail on the head. The whole country isn’t experiencing a rise in immigration and inter-provincial migration, but “there’s no inventory” anywhere.

    This is because the government is handing out free taxpayer dollars to speculators, that can buy and resell the same houses to first-time buyers.

  • Asterix1 2 years ago

    Stopped reading the article at…..”Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data shows…..”

  • Mike 2 years ago

    The entire real estate marketing and sales machinery has been designed to be stacked against the BUYER. It has an agenda for linear price growth forever so that the CREA members, tax payer funded CMHC and the big 6 banks not to mention the Real Estate industry to rip the benefits at the cost of the hard working Canadian.

    There is no other country where the law allows people including foreigners to speculate in property by buying pre-sale residential property with no intention of ever wanting to live or rent in the property. Just put down a nominal deposit and wait for the CREA to hype the housing market until the property is built in 2-3 years and assign the contract to an unsuspecting local hard working Canadians at inflated prices. They also conveniently only show house price stats starting from 2000 when the debt binge started. So people have no idea of the preceding 25yrs house price trends.

    The CREA folks collect their 7% which get added to the already inflated price and the banks don’t care because the tax payers (CMHC) is happy to guarantee the lender for any defaults. IT IS A WIN WIN for them at the cost of a mountain of debt the buyer continues to take on.

    The ramifications of this debt is so prevalent in the economy growing by sub ZERO percent. And the economists are celebrating that Canada is not in recession. Not to mention the government keeps jacking up taxes. And this results in less and less after tax and mortgage disposible income for people to spend on goods.

    The interest rates will have to rise soon and then we will see the fireworks in the housing market.

    Just my 2 cents….

  • Paul 2 years ago

    I know two different people who bought a house this month and got it well below the listed price in the Greater Vancouver area.
    Same homes listed last year have not moved. Even when marked down. I have no idea where CREA is getting their numbers from.

    • alvi 2 years ago

      Buying below list price does not necessarily mean the market is falling just as buying above the list price does not necessarily mean that prices are rising. In my opening,the real estate market is not is strong as data furnished by those in the industry suggest and it is not as weak as some of the permanent doomsayers on this board would like us to believe.

  • mike 2 years ago

    I suspect a lot of it is area-specific, as in some pockets in GTA are experiencing price acceleration and some are stagnating or are continuing to decrease (eg. 905 properties in Patterson vs Oakridges). My question is this how much correlation is there between prices in Vancouver, Edmonton and GTA?

    • alvi 2 years ago

      Based on th employment levels for a clue as to strength in markt

      From Statistics canada over the last two months
      St. John’s, N.L. 7.0 per cent (6.7)
      Halifax 6.5 (5.9)
      Moncton, N.B. 5.3 (5.6)
      Saint John, N.B. 7.8 (8.2)
      Saguenay, Que. 6.2 (6.1)
      Quebec 3.5 (3.3)
      Sherbrooke, Que. 4.7 (5.3)
      Trois-Rivieres, Que. 5.1 (5.4)
      Montreal 6.0 (5.8)
      Gatineau, Que. 5.0 (4.7)
      Ottawa 4.2 (4.3)
      Kingston, Ont. 5.7 (5.8)
      Peterborough, Ont. 7.5 (6.3)
      Oshawa, Ont. 6.1 (5.8)
      Toronto 5.7 (5.7)
      Hamilton, Ont. 4.5 (4.8)
      St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 4.9 (5.4)
      Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont. 5.1 (5.2)
      Brantford, Ont. 3.8 (3.1)
      Guelph, Ont. 5.6 (5.3)
      London, Ont. 5.7 (5.8)
      Windsor, Ont. 7.5 (7.0)
      Barrie, Ont. 5.2 (5.9)
      Sudbury, Ont. 5.5 (5.9)
      Thunder Bay, Ont. 5.0 (5.0)
      Winnipeg 5.3 (5.3)
      Regina 6.0 (6.0)
      Saskatoon 5.7 (5.5)
      Calgary 7.1 (6.9)
      Edmonton 8.0 (7.7)
      Kelowna, B.C. 4.1 (3.8)
      Abbotsford-Mission, B.C. 4.9 (5.0)
      Vancouver 4.8 (4.9)
      Victoria 3.4 (3.5)

  • Sophia 2 years ago

    Alvi , I have been monitoring the marketing Burlington (Ontario). Due to the low inventory and God knows what else, every TH and condo has been sold over asking price. For most of them, 15-20 offers and all of them have been priced initially for 8-10% higher than last property sold on the same street or neighborhood.
    People are buying properties under 800k like crazy so I am not sure what it means but it has been going on for a while. Let’s say , the last TH on the street was sold for 640k, the new one (not much different) was posted for 699, eventually was sold for 730k , so 730 is a new baseline ..90k difference from the previous sale…then the next one will be posted for 730k and probably sold for 750k. Obviously, there are enough buyers to keep increasing value of properties ; when it will end or become very problematic, no one knows, probably when banks and Government decide ..ordinary people can keep guessing forever..

    • alvi 2 years ago

      Sophia, Burlington is an area-specfic strength situation, a very desirable place to live ,the $800,000
      range is a sweet spot in the context of the B-20 rules that came into effect in 2019.That is why units are being bought ham over fist in that price range

  • Ken Wu 2 years ago

    You know its desperation time when the former truthy media starts pushing FOMO.

    • Matt 2 years ago

      No, this is what balanced reporting looks like. If everyone is bullish and they report the numbers, it seems bearish. If everyone is bearish, and they report the numbers, it seems bullish.

      There isn’t one subjective statement in that whole article.

  • Mike 2 years ago

    Central banks and there heads job is to convince everyone that everything is nice and rosy. It is sll about confidence. The BoC also follows the fake stats that is StatsCan and CREA (organised real estate) and others produce paint a rosy picture. Job growth, inflation etc are all heing manipulated.

    The BoC will be forced to raise interest rates soon. It is only a matter of time!

    The US Repo market is already being bailed out by the FED to stop the short rates to increase above 1.5%. On Sept 17 2019 the REPO rate shot up to 10%.

    If you have nothing to sale and or you a first time buyer. Just be patient! In the longer term you will do well. The mainstream media just regurgitates the nonsense these people put out – without checking the facts.

    The head of CMHC has just come out to say house affordability can only be achieved by densification. This is pure nonsense.

    There is not one City in any of the Capitalist countries of the world where the City’s with high rises condos is cheap look around. Not a single CITY.

  • Sarah 2 years ago

    WHAT? Calgary is definitely a Buyer’s Market. This is totally false…well unless Calgary isn’t a major Canadian Real Estate market anymore, which I guess is possible given the unemployment rate. What rubbish. Just more propaganda to make Canadians feel like our economy is stronger than ever!

    • Trevor 2 years ago

      Calgary prices are down 1.1% from last December. The horror. /s

    • AM 2 years ago

      The last update on that link was 2019. Of course it paints a different picture.

      This is the the equivalent of picking up a year old newspaper for stock tips.

      • Sarah 2 years ago

        The OVERALL trend is the point. Actually, when you buy stocks its probably a good idea to look at the trend. Savvy investors tend to do that.

Comments are closed.