Best July on record for MLS(R) home sales



    OTTAWA, Aug. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - National resale housing market activity
continued climbing in July 2009, with sales posting the largest year-over-year
gain in two years. It was also the first time on record that sales activity
topped 50,000 units for the month of July in any year on record.
    According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association
(CREA), a total of 50,270 homes traded hands via the Multiple Listing
Service(R) (MLS(R)) of Canadian real estate boards in July 2009. This is up
18.2 per cent from the same month last year, and stands 3.9 per cent above the
previous record for the month of July set back in 2007.
    On a seasonally adjusted basis, national MLS(R) home sales posted a sixth
consecutive month-over-month increase in July, climbing 2.5 per cent from June
to reach 42,539 units. Seasonally adjusted activity now stands 61.2 per cent
above the decade-low in January, and just 1.4 per cent below the all-time peak
May 2007.
    "Sales activity started off the third quarter on a strong footing," said
CREA President Dale Ripplinger. "The difference in the resale housing market
now, compared to the beginning of the year, is night and day, and nowhere is
this more evident than in the West. Homebuyers recognize that interest rates
and prices have bottomed out, and are taking advantage of excellent
affordability before prices and interest rates move higher."
    Resale activity in July 2009 was up from the same month last year in
about 60 per cent of local markets. Year-over-year gains in Toronto (28 per
cent), Vancouver (90 per cent), Montreal (19 per cent), Calgary (22 per cent)
and Edmonton (28 per cent) contributed most to the national increase in
activity.
    Demand is rebounding sharply in some of Canada's priciest housing
markets, which continues to skew the national average price upward. The
national MLS(R) residential average price rose 7.6 per cent from one year ago
to $326,832. Only seven local markets posted new average price records in
July. The strong rebound in sales activity, not price, in some of Canada's
most expensive markets is skewing the national average price upward, just as a
sharp decline in activity in these markets skewed the average lower in late
2008.
    The price trend is similar but more muted for the weighted national
MLS(R) average price, which compensates for changes in provincial sales
activity by taking into account provincial proportions of privately owned
housing stock. The weighted national MLS(R) average sale price was up 4.6 per
cent year-over-year in July 2009.
    The weighted average price increase for an aggregate of 25 major markets
reveals a similarly muted trend compared to its unweighted counterpart. The
major market weighted average price rose 2.8 per cent year-over-year in July
2009, compared to an increase of 8.3 per cent for the unweighted major market
average price. The major market weighted average price compensates for changes
in sales activity in major markets by taking into account the proportion of
privately owned housing stock in each market in relation to the major market
aggregate.
    The supply of homes coming onto the MLS(R) market remained down from
year-ago levels. Down 13 per cent from year-ago levels to 73,444 units, this
represents the seventh year-over-year decline in as many months in the number
of new listings.
    Rebounding demand combined with fewer new listings is beginning to draw
down the overall supply of homes on the market. There were 219,982 homes
listed for sale on the MLS(R) systems of real estate boards in Canada at the
end of July 2009, down 12.4 per cent from July 2008. It is the third
consecutive year-over-year decline in active listings, and the largest in more
than six years.
    The number of months of inventory is equal to the supply of active
listings at the end of the month divided by the number of sales that month. It
represents the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at
the current rate of sales activity. Nationally, there were 4.4 months of
inventory in July. This is up slightly from June, but remains one of the
lowest figures over the past two years, and well below the recessionary peak
of 12.8 months in January 2009.
    The seasonally adjusted dollar volume of all residential MLS(R) sales set
a new record in July 2009, climbing 5.5 per cent from the previous month to
reach $13.8 billion.
    "Home sales through the MLS(R) systems in July provide clear evidence
that sentiment about making major purchases continues to improve," said Chief
Economist Gregory Klump. "Activity may level out over the rest of the year as
home prices and mortgage lending interest rates creep higher."
    "The number of new listings coming onto the market is down from last year
and the rebound in sales activity is paring inventories, so the number of
months of inventory is on the wane," said Klump. "These trends are supporting
average prices. Average prices dropped sharply over the second half of 2008
but have rebounded since then, so average prices are expected to continue
climbing over the rest of the year."

    PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both
major market and national MLS(R) sales information from the previous month.
The Canadian Real Estate Association has previously released these separately.
CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing
trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of
widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differential between
geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes
all housing types. MLS(R) is a co-operative marketing system used only by
Canada's real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed
for sale. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada's
largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 96,000
REALTORS(R) working through more than 100 real estate Boards and Associations.
Further information can be found at www.crea.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Alyson Fair, Tel: (613) 237-7111 X 2284,
afair@crea.ca

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