For the second month in a row, sales activity eased over last year’s record levels. Despite the decline, levels continue to remain well above longer term trends. Some of the pullback in sales can be in part due to some of the supply challenges in the market. Year-to-date there have been 942 new listings, far lower than the over 1,100 new listings that we typically see at the start of the year. Inventory levels also remain low with 985 units available at the end of February, over 30 per cent below the 10-year average.
The pullback in sales combined with a pullback in inventory has done little to provide more balance in the market. In fact, with just over three months of supply in February, conditions are like last year and at levels not seen since 2012.
Persistently tight market conditions have contributed to further price gains. The residential benchmark price reached $330,600 in February, higher than levels recorded over the past several months. However, there are some signs that the pace of benchmark price growth is easing. After the first two months of the year, the benchmark price increased by over five per cent; far lower than the annual gain of over eight per cent recorded in 2021.