The Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales fell by more than half in April as the Covid-19 outbreak put a chill on market activity.
The association says April home sales were down 57.6% from a year earlier, and down 56.8% on a month-over-month basis, posting the lowest volume for the month since 1984.
Sales fell by 66.2% in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), 64.4% in Montreal, 57.9% in Greater Vancouver, 54.8% in the Fraser Valley, 53.1% in Calgary, 46.6% in Edmonton, 42% in Winnipeg, 59.8% in Hamilton-Burlington and 51.5% in Ottawa.
Nationally, new listings were down 55.7% from March to April, but inventory levels jumped to 9.2 months in April compared with 4.3 months in March as older listings stayed active while sale fell.
The composite benchmark price was down 0.6% in April compared with March for the first decline since last May, but is still up 6.4% year-over-year.
The national average price for homes sold in April was just over $488,000, down 1.3% from the same month last year.
Excluding the high-priced Toronto and Vancouver area markets, the average price was less than $392,000.
The real estate association said realtors are showing properties and completing documents virtually as they try to conduct business amid the pandemic.
“Like so many other parts of normal daily life, a lot of buying and selling activity in housing markets across Canada has been put on pause,” said Shaun Cathcart, the association’s senior economist, in a statement.
Preliminary data suggest sales and new listings may be picking up this month, he said.