Annual existing-home sales in Canada’s 25 major markets for the year 2003 surpassed its previous record set in 2002.

According to The Canadian Real Estate Association, major market home sales traded via the Multiple Listing Service totaled 307,505 units in 2003, representing an increase of 3.8 percent from the year before. Annual sales set new records in a number of large markets, including Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

New listings reached their highest level since 1994, while the major market MLS residential average price of $222,702 represented an increase of 10 percent above its previous record in 2002.

“Recent job growth and low interest rates will keep housing activity strong, but we cannot guarantee that annual sales will set another record this year,” said Pierre Beauchamp, CREA’s chief executive officer. “Higher prices, a further increase in new listings and more balanced market conditions may result in some buyers taking longer to make a purchase decision and cause activity to edge back from this year’s record.

“Even with a small decline, we expect resale housing activity this year to surpass levels posted in 2002. More balanced market conditions combined with a continuation of strong housing demand are expected to cause the national average MLS home price to rise more slowly this year, in the range of between 3 percent and 5 percent,” Beauchamp said.

The Canadian Real Estate Association represents more than 69,000 licensed and registered real estate practitioners in 103 local real estate boards, 10 provincial associations and one territorial association.

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