Improved Canadian Housing Data Helps With Real Estate Decisions

Written By: Jim Adair
Monday, October 21, 2019

Yoursquo;ve probably heard this one before: ldquo;There are three types of lies ndash; lies, damn lies and statistics.rdquo; ndash; attributed to Benjamin Disraeli. Or how about this one: ldquo;Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.rdquo; ndash; Mark Twain.

You would think that compiling housing data would be a fairly straightforward process, but in Canada itrsquo;s been anything but. Through the years, housing stats have been called incomplete, inadequate and part of a plot by organized real estate designed to hide agentsrsquo; commissions.

When it comes to real estate statistics, for years consumers and the government have >

But ldquo;average or median prices can change a lot from one month to the next and paint an inaccurate or even unhelpful picture of price values and trends,rdquo; says CREA. Thatrsquo;s why in 2009, CREA and five of the countryrsquo;s largest real estate boards hired Altus Group to develop the MLS Home Price Index.

Altus says the index ldquo;analyzes all of the sales data from a board or associationrsquo;s MLS system, applies a value to the lsquo;typicalrsquo; home for various types of dwellings for each submarket, and tracks the >

The index has grown to include 18 boards across the country. Recently CREA and Altus Group announced an agreement that will expand the index to include all of CREArsquo;s 90 real estate boards and associations. However, the news media still prefers to report average prices, likely because itrsquo;s easier to understand than the index.

Another popular statistic is days on market DOM, which is used to track how long it took an average home to sell via the MLS system. One would assume that the shorter the DOM, the hotter the listing or the local market.

But in Toronto, it became common practice for Realtors to >

The Toronto Real Estate Board says that in February 2019, 20 per cent of sold listings had been listed, terminated and then >

The board is now providing members with a new statistic, average property days on marketAve. PDOM, which includes the time a property has been on the market, regardless of the list-terminate->

CREA has been criticized for double-counting some sales in their national numbers when the same sale was reported by two different boards. However, the association says that impacted a very small percentage of transactions.

Statistics provided by the real estate boards are based on sales via the MLS system, and do not include private sales, transfers to family or corporations and sales of new homes and condos where the builders marketed directly to consumers. New home sales have traditionally been provided by local branches of the Canadian Home Builders Association.

A few years ago, when various governments started looking at the issue of foreign buyers and how they could be taxed, there was little data about just how many foreign owners there were in the marketplace. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. was tasked with coming up with some hard numbers to support government housing policies.

In 2017, Statistics Canada also upped its game with the introduction of the Canadian Housing Statistics Program, with a mandate to gather information about residential property ownership. In June, it >

For example, it found that 95.5 per cent of residential property owners in Ontario were individuals and residents of Canada. The same goes for 92.7 per cent of owners in B.C. and 92.1 per cent in Nova Scotia.

Statistics Canada says 6.8 per cent of Nova Scotia owners had two or more properties, and that Nova Scotia owners were about one-third more likely to own a second property than those in Ontario and B.C.

There were slightly more female owners than males: 51.9 per cent in B.C., 51.9 per cent in Ontario and 51 per cent in Nova Scotia.

The largest share of owners in B.C. and Nova Scotia was born from 1950 to 1959, while in Ontario, those born from 1960 to 1969 held the largest share. Millennial owners, which Statistics Canada says were born from 1980 to 1999, accounted for one in eight owners in Nova Scotia and one in seven in Ontario and B.C.

As more information is collected about homeownership and real estate, governments should be better able to form housing policies, and home buyers and sellers will become more equipped to negotiate the real estate market.

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