CREA / Montreal / Builders

News & Views

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported January's national home sales were up by 9.39% from December but were off by 4.04% from the previous year. The average sales price was down by 5.5 percent. As sales in Vancouver and Toronto back off their historic highs, other cities including Montreal, Ottawa, and Winnipeg are seeing double-digit growth. Vancouver's sales were down by 39.33 percent from one year ago. The Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price Index showed that prices were down for the fifth month in a row, the longest time without a price increase since 2013. — BETTER DWELLING

Montreal's real estate market is about to eclipse Vancouver's. January saw home sales in Montreal climb the fastest in a decade as lower prices and a booming economy lured buyers. Sales in the city advanced 7.1 per cent from December, the fastest pace since May 2009, and the number of units sold reached a record. Montreal’s gains are well ahead of identical moves in Vancouver and Toronto where sales rose 1.2 per cent, and double the national increase of 3.6 per cent. BNNBLOOMBERG

After years of focusing mostly on large luxury homes, it looks like home builders are starting to turn toward middle tier housing. The National Association of Home Builders reported that the average size of a new build was 2,320 square feet, down for the third year in a row since the peak of 2,500 hit in 2015. The shift could be good news for younger buyers seeking entry-level homes. Smaller home sizes tend to correlate with a shrinking economy. NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz has forecast a slight gain in single-family home construction for 2019 with most of the growth concentrated in the West. The emphasis on middle-class and workforce housing comes as many large companies are starting to address the housing concerns facing employees. — WASHINGTON POST

Speaking of downsizing, Apartment Therapy recently profiled Chris Schapdick who built a tiny house in the Catskills and found a new career. Through his company, Tiny Industrial, he not only builds tiny houses and campers but also authors books on tiny house living. His Oculus North tiny house can be purchased for $38,000 to $44,000 depends on the features. The tiny house is off-grid with propane heat and hot water as well as solar panels for electricity. It is fully insulated for four-season comfort. — TINY INDUSTRIAL