Home sales continue to cool in June

OTTAWA, July 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that the number of newly listed homes and sales activity declined in June 2010.

Seasonally adjusted national home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service(R) (MLS(R)) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards receded 8.2 per cent in June from the previous month. Led by lower activity in Toronto and Calgary, sales declined in almost 70 per cent of local markets.

Tightened mortgage regulations and anticipated interest rate increases cooled sales activity throughout the second quarter, resulting in a decline of 13.3 per cent from near-record levels in the first quarter. As expected, these two national factors contributed to a widespread decline in activity, with transactions down in all but a dozen or so smaller markets.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales activity was 19.7 per cent lower in June 2010 compared to last year, when activity almost reached a new record for the month. Actual sales activity in the second quarter stood 2.8 per cent below levels reported in the second quarter of 2009. For the year-to-date, transactions are up 13.6 per cent compared to the first-six months of last year. This gap is expected to shrink as the year progresses, since activity trended upward over the second half of last year and is forecast to continue easing over the second half of 2010.

The number of newly listed homes on Canadian MLS(R) Systems in June 2010 declined by 6.8 per cent from the previous month, following a monthly decline of 4.8 per cent in May. A declining trend in new listings will help maintain the balance between supply and demand, and temper home price volatility.

The national average price of homes sold via Canadian MLS(R) Systems rose 4.9 per cent on a year-over-year basis in June to $342,662.

The national average price can be skewed by changes in provincial sales activity. The national weighted average price compensates for this by taking into account provincial proportions of privately owned housing stock. It climbed 6.3 per cent on a year-over-year basis in June 2010. Similarly, the residential average price in Canada's major markets was up 5.7 per cent year-over-year in June, while the weighted major market average price rose 8.7 per cent.

The number of months of inventory represents the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, and measures the balance between housing supply and demand. It stood at 5.7 months at the end of June 2010 on a national basis. This is up from 4.2 months one year ago, when it fell to its lowest level since the economic recovery began. The rise in the number of months of inventory was widespread, with increases from year-ago levels in all provinces, except Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.

The seasonally adjusted number of months of inventory stood at 6.9 months at the end of June on a national basis, the highest level since March 2009. It may rise further as sales activity trends lower over the second half of 2010, but an expected decline in the number of new listings should stabilize the balance between supply and demand.

"The housing market is becoming more challenging for sellers," said CREA President Georges Pahud. "Buyers are in less of a hurry, so sellers should consult with their local REALTOR(R) on how to best price and present their home to attract purchase offers."

"National home sales activity is easing due to fewer and more cautious first-time home buyers," said Chief Economist Gregory Klump. "With interest rates on the rise, housing affordability and home sales activity are expected to continue to erode over the second half of 2010. While the pricing environment is becoming more challenging, a recovering economy and job market will provide support for housing activity and prices."

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national MLS(R) sales information from the previous month.

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 99,000 REALTORS(R) working through more than 100 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found at http://www.crea.ca/public/news_stats/media.htm

SOURCE The Canadian Real Estate Association

For further information: For further information: Spencer Callaghan, Communications Officer, The Canadian Real Estate Association, 613-237-7111, scallaghan@crea.ca

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