November marks a rise in sales
The November housing market was spurred by a rise in sales, particularly in the lower price ranges.
Sales totaled 1,411 units in November, an increase of 15 percent over last year. This is comparable to longer-term averages for the month of November. Improved sales activity occurred in each of the housing segments, with most of the gains occurring in homes priced under $500,000.
"The combination of improved confidence and pending mortgage rule changes have likely contributed to the stronger sales activity this month," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. According to Lurie, the last time that sales activity rose to long-term averages for the month was October 2016, when the stress test for high-ratio loans was first announced.
"Moving forward, we will continue to monitor shifts in demand as improving economic conditions should help offset the impact to the housing market after the new lending policy comes into force in January," said Lurie.
The largest gains in the detached sector were in the $300,000 - $399,999 price range, while the apartment and attached sectors saw the largest gains among homes priced below $300,000.
"We have seen some improvements in confidence with many of our clients. There are some concerns regarding the changes in the lending market, but there is also a significant amount of confusion regarding how it will affect them," said CREB® president David P. Brown.
"For a lot of buyers, they are interested in taking advantage of the choice in the market at all price ranges."
The rise in sales relative to new listings improved this month, helping ease inventory levels over the previous month and keeping the months of supply relatively stable. However, the amount of supply relative to the sales in the market remains elevated. This continues to weigh on prices.
Citywide benchmark prices totaled $436,700, 0.50 percent below last month, but 0.46 percent above last year's levels.
Both median and average prices recorded a more significant decline compared to last year. This should not come as a surprise, as more sales in the lower price range this year compared to last November would cause a more pronounced drop in average and median prices.