Existing-home sales via Canada’s Multiple Listing Service set a record for the month of July and remain on track to set an annual record for 2005, according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association.

A seasonally adjusted total of 40,973 units were sold through MLS in July, down 2.7 percent from June but up 5.9 percent from a year ago.

Sales activity also set new records for July in British Columbia, Alberta and New Brunswick.

The number of actual (unadjusted) transactions posted during the first seven months of 2005 outpaced sales for the same period in 2004 by 1.4 percent, the association reported. Year-to-date, unadjusted sales increased from the same period last year in every province except Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Seasonally adjusted new MLS residential listings totaled 62,975 units in July, down slightly (-0.8 percent) from June. A bigger monthly decline in sales than for new listings caused the national market for existing homes to become slightly more balanced in July compared to the previous month.

“The sales momentum from the second quarter has carried forward into the third quarter, and resale housing activity remains on track to set a new annual record,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “The anticipated increase in the Bank rate in September will have little immediate effect on the housing market. The series of small interest-rate increases that are expected later this year and in early 2006 will put a small dent in consumer confidence, and will gradually slow housing activity and price gains next year.”

The national MLS residential average price was $250,567 in July, up 11.8 percent compared to the same month last year. This represents the largest year-over-year gain in residential average price since May 2004. MLS residential average price reached its highest monthly level on record in British Columbia, and set new records for the month of July in every other province.

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