Canada’s major-market home sales fell 0.2 percent in September on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to The Canadian Real Estate Association.

Closed transactions via the Multiple Listing Service numbered 26,312 units in September, down from 26,370 sales the previous month. Sales amounted to 79,713 units in the third quarter, their fourth-highest quarterly level on record despite having slipped 3.8 percent from unusually strong activity in the second quarter.

Sales in the first nine months of the year (239,664 units) were up 4.2 percent compared to the same period last year, so activity remains on track to set a new annual record. Sales surpassed all previous year-to-date records in a number of major markets, including Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal.

Seasonally adjusted residential new listings reached their highest quarterly level in 12 years (132,666 units) in the third quarter, having risen 2.1 percent compared to the previous quarter. Year-to-date, new listings stood 10.6 percent higher than for the same period last year.

Major market MLS residential average price rose by 7.3 percent (year-over-year) to $245,120 in September, and by 6.6 percent (year-over-year) to $241,359 in the third quarter.

“With the market having become more balanced, year-over-year price gains are expected to stay in single-digit territory over the rest of the year and into 2005,” said CREA’s chief executive officer, Pierre Beauchamp.

“High oil prices will no doubt dampen economic and job growth, which should prevent interest rates from rising significantly next year,” said CREA’s chief economist, Gregory Klump. “The continuation of historically low interest rates will keep the housing market simmering this year and next,” he said. “However, pent-up demand has largely run its course and home buyers are taking more time to make purchase decisions now that the market has become more balanced, so we expect existing-home sales will return to a more sustainable pace next year,” Klump said.

The Canadian Real Estate Association is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 74,000 Realtors working through 102 real estate boards, 10 provincial associations and one territorial association.

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