Home sales and new home construction both drop in April

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The annual rate of housing starts in Canada fell slightly by one per cent compared with March 2024, while the number of residential home sales dropped in the same period of time, according to separate sets of numbers released today by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Canadian Real Estate Association.

The CMHC, Canada’s national housing agency, reported that the annual rate of housing starts, or how many new homes began construction, dropped from 242,267 in March 2024 to 240,229 in April.

The agency’s six-month average measure of trends also dropped, with the seasonally adjusted moving average over that period of time dropping by 2.2 per cent in the most recent report.

Actual new housing construction, when not seasonally adjusted, also dropped in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal for both multi-unit and single-detached homes compared to last year in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

Real estate sales down month-over-month, too

Releasing separate numbers on the same day, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) says that home sales in April are down by 1.7 per cent in Canada compared to March 2024, though they are higher than the year prior.

However, CREA also says a significant part of the more than 10 per cent jump over last year is because of the Easter holiday weekend, which took place in March this year, versus April of last year. Essentially, a few more business days than usual in April 2024 compared to 2023 may have led to higher sales.

Homes sales across Canada dropped in April compared to March. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

While sales were up compared to last year, the average sale price was down 1.8 per cent compared to April 2023, at $703,446.

The number of properties up for sale in April, otherwise known as inventory, went up as the spring real estate season begins. According to CREA, the lower sales in April compared to March, combined with more listings, meant that the overall number of properties on the market went up by 6.5 per cent. That is the highest level, according to the real estate association, since just before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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