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Home sales fall, debt worries rise

Home sales fall, debt worries rise.jpg
Home sales fall, debt worries rise

The latest statistics from theCanadian Real Estate Associationare stark but they should not be surprising. April sales hit a 36-year low, down nearly 57% from a month earlier and down almost 58% year-over-year.

As with March, though, average prices remained steady. Compared to a year ago the national average dipped 1.3% to just over $488,000. With Toronto and Vancouver taken out of the calculation the national average drops by nearly $100,000.

CREA points out that its composite Home Price Index shows an increase of almost 6.5% YoY.

The association is not offering any forecasts on sales or prices going forward.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to run roughshod through the housing market, theBank of Canadais repeating its concerns about high household debt. The Bank sees the number of vulnerable households – those that put more than 40% of their income toward debt payments – increasing and falling behind on loan payments.

Calculations by the BoC indicate that up to one-in-five home-owning households do not have enough money to cover two months of expenses. One-third do not have enough to cover four months. Some 700,000 households have received deferrals, so far.

The central bank’s projections see the mortgage arrears rate climbing by about 0.8%, peaking next year when payment deferral plans offered by lenders start to expire. This is the Bank’s current, worst case scenario. The current mortgage arrears rate stands at just 0.2%.


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