Home prices in Canada’s major markets via the Multiple Listing Service rose considerably in June, while existing-home sales rose at a smaller pace, according to The Canadian Real Estate Association.

The major-market MLS residential average price rose 10 percent year-over-year to $248,584, its sixth consecutive double-digit increase. The MLS residential average price set a new monthly record in a number of major markets, including Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Hamilton-Burlington, Montreal and Quebec City.

Major-market home sales edged higher by 0.6 percent to 27,736 units on a seasonally adjusted basis, their fifth-highest level on record. Major-market activity during the second quarter of 2004 rose 7.8 percent compared to the first quarter and stood at its second-highest quarterly level on record. Sales in the first half of the year reached their second-highest semi-annual level on record and surpassed sales in the first half of 2003 by 9 percent. Sales in the first six months eclipsed all previous year-to-date records in a number of major markets, including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto.

The number of sellers was little changed, with seasonally adjusted new listings inching lower by 0.3 percent to 43,986 units. On a quarterly basis, new listings were up 10.3 percent compared to the first quarter and set a new quarterly record. The market for resale homes became slightly more balanced in the second quarter, with sales as a percentage of new listings slipping to 63.9 percent, compared to 65.4 percent in the first quarter.

“Much of the increase in listings in major markets across Canada has been for higher-priced single-family homes, with lower-priced single-family homes remaining in short supply,” said CREA’s chief executive officer, Pierre Beauchamp. “A bigger supply of higher-priced homes will keep a lid on price increases over the second half of the year. Meanwhile, lower-priced resale townhouse and apartment-unit sales will continue to rise due to their relative affordability,” Beauchamp said.

“With the five-year conventional mortgage interest rate having recently inched lower, home buyers can take advantage of historically attractive purchase financing. Combined with continuing full-time job growth, housing demand is expected to remain strong over the second half of the year,” he said.

The Canadian Real Estate Association is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 70,000 Realtors working through 103 real estate boards, 10 provincial associations and one territorial association.

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