Understanding Canada’s Record Home Sales Last Month, And Why It’s Likely To Continue

Dated: September 16 2020

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Canada’s late Spring real estate market continues, but some of the pent-up demand has caught up. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data show a new all-time record for August sales. The rise is largely due to the lockdown delaying the busy Spring season into the Summer. The result is an odd comparison period, that is likely to continue until the pent-up demand has caught up. 

Canadian Real Estate Sales Are Up Over 33% From Last Year

Canadian real estate sales printed another all-time record, as only some of the pent-up demand caught up. CREA reported 58,645 sales in August, down 6.2% from the month before. This works out to an increase of 33.5% when compared to the same month last year. The monthly decline is seasonal, but the annual increase is not. Last month was the biggest August for home sales in the history of the MLS.

Canadian Real Estate Sales Change

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

UnadjustedJan 2008May 2008Sep 2008Jan 2009May 2009Sep 2009Jan 2010May 2010Sep 2010Jan 2011May 2011Sep 2011Jan 2012May 2012Sep 2012Jan 2013May 2013Sep 2013Jan 2014May 2014Sep 2014Jan 2015May 2015Sep 2015Jan 2016May 2016Sep 2016Jan 2017May 2017Sep 2017Jan 2018May 2018Sep 2018Jan 2019May 2019Sep 2019Jan 2020May 2020-60-40-20020406080Percent Change
Jan 2008-8.57
Feb 2008-8.78
Mar 2008-18.94
Apr 2008-7.04
May 2008-17.41
Jun 2008-15.35
Jul 2008-12.25
Aug 2008-20.83
Sep 2008-3.49
Oct 2008-27.27
Nov 2008-42.32
Dec 2008-32.86
Jan 2009-40.51
Feb 2009-31.47
Mar 2009-13.97
Apr 2009-11.58
May 2009-0.86
Jun 200917.67
Jul 200918.69
Aug 200918.69
Sep 200917.31
Oct 200941.73
Nov 200972.75
Dec 200972.65
Jan 201056.26
Feb 201044.22
Mar 201040.3
Apr 201020.4
May 2010-4.63
Jun 2010-19.88
Jul 2010-29.98
Aug 2010-19.85
Sep 2010-19.97
Oct 2010-21.62
Nov 2010-9.66
Dec 2010-14.63
Jan 2011-6.21
Feb 2011-5.53
Mar 2011-6.41
Apr 2011-14.69
May 20112.72
Jun 201111.2
Jul 201112.66
Aug 201116.12
Sep 201111.73
Oct 20119.03
Nov 20115.52
Dec 20114.76
Jan 20124
Feb 20128.66
Mar 20121.34
Apr 201210.99
May 20128.72
Jun 2012-4.71
Jul 20122.43
Aug 2012-8.87
Sep 2012-15.13
Oct 2012-0.86
Nov 2012-12.08
Dec 2012-17.59
Jan 2013-6.09
Feb 2013-16.81
Mar 2013-15.11
Apr 2013-3.36
May 2013-2.61
Jun 2013-0.55
Jul 20139.59
Aug 201311.35
Sep 201317.74
Oct 20138.09
Nov 20135.83
Dec 201312.27
Jan 20140.64
Feb 20143.2
Mar 20144.88
Apr 20140.35
May 20145.46
Jun 201411.53
Jul 20148.1
Aug 20142.32
Sep 201411.13
Oct 20147.57
Nov 20143.12
Dec 20148.61
Jan 2015-1.97
Feb 20152.67
Mar 20159.14
Apr 20159.9
May 20153.36
Jun 201510.96
Jul 20153.56
Aug 20153.93
Sep 20150.31
Oct 20150.33
Nov 201510.38
Dec 201510.26
Jan 20168.6
Feb 201618.11
Mar 201611.52
Apr 20169.67
May 20168.61
Jun 20164.8
Jul 2016-2.92
Aug 201610.01
Sep 20164.03
Oct 20161.32
Nov 20160.9
Dec 2016-4.84
Jan 20170.96
Feb 2017-2.84
Mar 20176.93
Apr 2017-7.42
May 2017-1.33
Jun 2017-11.29
Jul 2017-12.31
Aug 2017-9.81
Sep 2017-10.71
Oct 2017-4.34
Nov 20172.47
Dec 20174.01
Jan 2018-2.18
Feb 2018-16.95
Mar 2018-22.67
Apr 2018-13.85
May 2018-15.53
Jun 2018-10.74
Jul 2018-1.71
Aug 2018-3.78
Sep 2018-8.55
Oct 2018-3.39
Nov 2018-12.23
Dec 2018-19.2
Jan 2019-2.39
Feb 2019-4.09
Mar 2019-4.63
Apr 20194.57
May 20196.68
Jun 20190.3
Jul 201914.14
Aug 20195.65
Sep 201915.52
Oct 201913.19
Nov 201911.29
Dec 201922.71
Jan 202011.55
Feb 202026.89
Mar 20207.85
Apr 2020-57.55
May 2020-39.8
Jun 202015.2
Jul 202030.84
Aug 202033.5

Source: CREA, Better Dwelling.

The annual rate of growth was huge, printing the highest level seen in over a decade. The 12-month increase of 33.5% in August is the highest rate since March 2010. Last year was unusually slow, but this has to do with pent-up demand shifting the trend later. This is easier to understand when it’s visualized. 

Canadian Real Estate Sales

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


Source: CREA, Better Dwelling.

A chart of annual overlays shows how the pandemic pushed spring demand later into the year. Due to the lockdown, a number of markets couldn’t conduct sales in April and May. This delayed both buyers and sellers into the following months. The whole trend essentially just shifts to the right, with a little boost as pent-up demand catches up. When looked at year to date, the lag becomes a little more evident as well.

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Steven Axford

Steve Axford grew up in Victoria, BC and has always been active in his community. Steve is a Victoria Cougars Hockey Team alumni as well as a Victoria Shamrocks (intermediate) alumni. During his time....

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