Thursday, December 16, 2010
Existing home sales rose for the fourth straight month in November, suggesting Canada’s real estate market is levelling out after a year of dramatic swings.
The Canadian Real Estate Association said November's seasonally adjusted resale activity via its Multiple Listing Service was up 4.8% compared to October.
"Following the chilling lows at the onset of the recent recession and the dizzying heights during the subsequent recovery, the national housing market appears to be returning to some semblance of normalcy,” said CREA chief economist Gregory Klump.
Sales activity rose in many local markets but eased in others.Vancouver, Fraser Valley, B.C., and Montreal posted the biggest sales increases with transactions up 11.3%, 10.5% and 8.2%, respectively.
When compared to November 2009, existing home sales were down but that’s masking the steady improvement in national sales since July 2010, CREA said. In the recent past, sales activity peaked in the fourth quarter of 2009 before hitting a low point in the third quarter of this year.
The average price for a resale home in November was $344,239, up 2% year-over-year.
New residential listings on the MLS fell slightly in the month though the supply-demand picture remains balanced, the report said.
"An increase in new listings is likely to return many sellers markets to balanced territory over the coming months," Klump said."With sales activity having returned to better health and a firm floor under prices, sellers who previously shied away from putting their home on the market are expected to list their home in response to improved housing demand in recent months."
Klump also said stiffer mortgage lending rules introduced this past spring helped strike the right balance between preventing speculative housing market activity and keeping homeownership within reach for Canadians.
“Rising interest rates and weaker than expected job growth are likely to contribute to softer prospects for housing market activity and average price growth next year, reflecting weakening economic growth prospects,” he said.
By QMI Agency