Canada’s major-market home sales slipped 4.1 percent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to The Canadian Real Estate Association.

Closed transactions via the Multiple Listing Service numbered 25,111 units in October, down from 26,190 sales the previous month.

Activity remains strong, with seasonally adjusted sales reaching their second-highest level on record for the month of October – surpassed only by last year’s record for the same month.

Sales in the first 10 months of this year remained 2.8 percent higher than the same period last year, the association reported. Sales surpassed all previous year-to-date records in a number of major markets, including Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa.

Major-market MLS residential average price rose by 8.4 percent (year-over-year) to $252,619 in October. In most major markets, year-over-year average price growth has settled into mid-to-high single-digit territory. Large double-digit increases were once again posted in a few markets, including Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

“With just two months to go, activity remains on track to set a new annual record,” said CREA’s chief executive officer, Pierre Beauchamp.

“Positive news about Canadian economic and job growth means the Bank of Canada will likely raise its trend-setting Bank rate by another one-quarter of a percentage point in December,” said CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump. “The Bank will want to take some time to assess the economic impact of the rapid ascent in the Canada-U.S. currency exchange rate, putting further interest rates on hold until at least March 2005.

“Slightly higher interest rates will still be favorable for the housing market, which will remain on simmer over the rest of the year and in 2005. With the market becoming more balanced, year-over-year price increases will become more modest come spring,” Klump said.

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