Housing market slowed in September as interest rates weigh in
- On a seasonally adjusted basis, home sales decreased 1.9% from August to September, a third monthly contraction in a row following the renewed monetary tightening cycle of the Bank of Canada and the surge in long-term interest rates.
- On the supply side, new listings jumped 6.3% in September, a sixth consecutive monthly increase.
- Overall, active listing increased by 3.7%, a third monthly gain in a row. As a result the number of months of inventory (active-listings to sales) increased from 3.5 in August to 3.7 in September. This continues to be higher than the trough of 1.7 reached in the pandemic but remains low on a historical basis.
- The active-listings to sales ratio loosened during the month but remained tighter than its historical average in every province except Ontario, which now indicated a slightly less tight market than the average.
- Housing starts rose 20.1K in September to a 3-month high of 270.5K (seasonally adjusted and annualized), a result comfortably above the median economist forecast calling for a 240.0K print. At the provincial level, total starts went up in Ontario (+19.3K to 103.6K), Alberta (+8.7K to a seven-and-a-half-year high of 49.1K) and Nova Scotia (+5.1K to 8.1K). Alternatively, declines were recorded in British Columbia (-8.6K to a 7-month low of 40.5K) and Saskatchewan (-2.7K to 3.4K).
- The Teranet-National Bank Composite National House Price Index rose 0.7% in September after seasonal adjustment. All 11 markets in the composite index were up during the month: Halifax (+1.9%), Ottawa-Gatineau (+1.7%), Victoria (+1.7%), Vancouver (+1.1%) and Calgary (+0. 9%) posted stronger-than-average growth, while Winnipeg (+0.7%) matched the composite index, and Montreal (+0.1%), Hamilton (+0.1%), Edmonton (+0.2%), Toronto (+0.5%) and Quebec City (+0.5%) saw less vigorous increases.
Easy home improvements you can do in winter
(NC) As we tend to spend more time indoors during cold weather, eager do-it-yourselfers need to look for some interior reno projects to keep them occupied. Here are some low-cost tasks you can tackle that will help improve your home’s energy efficiency and maybe even save your life.
Install a smart thermostat
If you don’t already have one, it’s worthwhile to install a “smart” or programmable thermostat. These enable you to turn down the heat during the day when everyone’s out and then automatically bring it back to your desired setting by the time you get home. Overnight, you can set it to lower the temperature, which both saves money and helps everyone get a better night’s sleep. Most thermostats use low-voltage wiring, but you should still turn off the breaker or remove the fuse that’s powering it before you start the installation.
Check for drafts
Are there cold or drafty spots in your house? On a windy day, light an incense stick and go around the house holding it close to window and door frames and along the baseboards. Take note of anywhere you notice the smoke flutter and come back later to seal those gaps with caulking.
Give your HVAC system some TLC
Having your furnace conk out in the depths of winter is never good. Your furnace should be inspected annually by a professional to ensure it is operating at peak efficiency. As a homeowner, your main furnace-related task is to monitor and replace the filter before it gets clogged. You should also go through the house and make sure furniture and curtains aren’t blocking the airflow from your vents or radiators.
Test for radon
Radon is an invisible, radioactive gas that naturally seeps from the ground into your home. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The only way to know if it’s accumulating to a dangerous level in your home is to do a radon test. You simply purchase a test kit or hire a service provider and do the test in the lowest regularly used room in the home – say, a family room or basement bedroom – for at least 90 days. Then send it to a lab to find out your home’s radon level. If the result is high, it can be easily lowered. Contact a radon mitigation professional about what you can do to reduce your exposure.
Learn more about radon and how to protect your family from it at canada.ca/radon.
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