The Canadian Real Estate Association says February home sales jumped 19.7 per cent compared with a year ago in what could mark the “last relatively uneventful month of the year.”

The association said Monday the increase in part reflected weakness last year, as the result for February 2023 was one of the lowest for the month in the past two decades. It said current activity has also climbed back to only around five per cent below the 10-year average.

On a month-over-month basis, seasonally adjusted home sales in February dipped 3.1 per cent compared with January. CREA said it is seeing a general trend of “somewhat higher levels of activity over the last three months compared to a quiet fall market in 2023.”

“With so much demand having piled up on the sidelines, the story will likely be less about the exact timing of interest rate cuts and more about how many homes come up for sale this year,” CREA senior economist Shaun Cathcart said in a news release.

The number of newly listed properties was up 1.6 per cent month-over-month. Meanwhile, there were 3.8 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of February 2024, up from 3.7 months at the end of January, but short of the long-term average of about five months of inventory.

The actual national average home price was $685,809 last month, up 3.5 per cent from February 2023.

Vy Ngo, a sales representative with Big City Realty Inc. Brokerage, said buyers are showing a lot more optimism than they were at the end of last year.

“Personally, my clients are getting pre-approval. Some of them are shopping and some of them are in the earlier stages,” she said.

“Once the Bank of Canada lowers their rates, I think the market is going to be back on fire again,” she said.

Ngo said she sold a house last month in the Toronto area that spent just three days on the market.

“My client originally wanted to sell end of last year and I told them to just hold on to the new year. That was a pleasant sell.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2024.