The number of home sales increased one per cent in February compared to the month of January as many other major cities faced declines and weaker sales in the first month of the year.
"A number of buyers across the Prairies stayed on the sidelines in February," said CREA president Beth Crosbie. "That's likely to remain an important part of the national housing story until the outlook for oil prices starts improving.
“Meanwhile, home sales in British Columbia and much of Ontario are improving, which underscores the fact that all real estate is local."
According to CREA stats, actual sales activity stood 2.7 per cent above levels reported in the same month last year, but remained five per cent below the 10-year average for the month of February.
"Sales came in below the 10-year average for the month of February in two-thirds of all local markets," said Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist, in a release. "That said, the opposite was true in a few large urban markets in British Columbia and Ontario despite a shortage of listings there, which is fuelling prices higher."
In Toronto and Vancouver, lack of inventory drove sales activity up 10.6 per cent and 20.9 per cent from the year-ago period, respectively. Klump says the shortage of listings also pushed prices higher in Canada’s two hottest markets – prices were up 3.8 per cent in Vancouver to $879,069, and rose 7.8 per cent in Toronto to $596,163.
Calgary, however, continues to bear the brunt of falling oil values. Sales were down 34.7 per cent from the year-ago period. Average sales price, however, dipped just 3.6 per cent to $443,744.
The number of newly listed homes fell 2.5 per cent in February compared to January, led by Greater Vancouver, the Okanagan region, and Calgary.
New listings in Calgary have retreated in recent months after having climbed sharply toward the end of last year. With sales up and new listings down across the country, the national sales-to-new listings ratio was 52.2 per cent in February, compared to 50.4 per cent in January.
What’s more, there were 6.4 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of February 2015, down from 6.5 months in January.
“Both the sales-to-new listings ratio and months of inventory measures continue to point to a balanced market at the national level,” according to the stats.
The Greater Vancouver area and Toronto led the nation to a February increase in home sales, according to new stats from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).