On April 15, CREA released their national statistics and chose to focus on seasonally adjusted data, while highlighting individual markets across the country. For the release, please visit https://www.crea.ca/news/canadian-home-sales-and-listings-down-in-march/.

RAHB, as well as several other associations/boards across Canada, reported an increase in the number of sales month-over-month (actual) from February to March 2020; however, the seasonally adjusted numbers published by CREA show decreases. For example, RAHB reported a 10 per cent increase in the number of sales (actual) from February to March of this year, while CREA reported a decrease of 24.9 per cent in sales (seasonally adjusted) for the same time period.

The media published CREA’s release and data, but did not explain that the data was seasonally adjusted. For the CBC article, please visit https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/crea-march-real-estate-1.5532748.

We are working with CREA to correct any media that have not properly identified and explained seasonally adjusted data; however, this has caused confusion among REALTORS® across Canada, as well as in the eyes of the public.

RAHB has contacted CREA and asked that they:

  • Emphasize that their data is seasonally adjusted.
  • Include a clear definition of seasonally adjusted data.
  • Provide a clear explanation of the difference between seasonally adjusted data provided by CREA and actual data provided by boards/associations.
  • Focus on data at the national level, allowing boards and associations to publish regional data.

RAHB and other boards and associations use actual data in statistics releases, and refrain from focusing on seasonally adjusted data as it is quite complicated for the public to understand. CREA does provide a high-level explanation on their website – https://www.creacafe.ca/seasonally-adjusted-mysteries-revealed/.

Below are some points RAHB members can use to explain CREA’s seasonally adjusted data with clients:

  • The majority of regional boards/associations – including RAHB – publish raw data within their monthly market statistics reports to show the actual activity that took place within any given month.
  • CREA uses seasonally adjusted data to identify trends.
  • Seasonal adjustment strips out normal seasonal fluctuations that otherwise affect data, and levels the playing field for each month.
  • CREA states that using seasonally adjusted data makes every month 30 days with four weekends and no holidays.
  • The effect of seasonal adjustment is that it reduces readings for months which normally get a seasonal lift, and boosts them for months which normally see a seasonal slump.
  • Seasonally adjusted data is how governments, financial institutions and market analysts look at the figures.
  • Seasonally adjusted statistics result from raw data being fed into a complicated computer model.

RAHB uses actual data because:

  • Actual data is the raw data collected in any given time period.
  • Raw data shows the confirmed/real activity that took place during any given time period.
  • Actual (raw) data is generally easier to understand.
  • Publishing actual (raw) data allows REALTORS® to analyze their specific section of the market.

If you have any questions, please contact communications@rahb.ca.