Real estate sales activity in Canada’s major markets reached the second highest monthly level in September, surpassed only by transactions the previous month, according to industry statistics released last week.

In September, a total of 29,544 homes traded hands via the multiple listing service, down 1.8 percent from August, according to The Canadian Real Estate Association, a real estate trade group.

In the third quarter, a total of 88,357 homes traded hands in major markets, a 2.9 percent increase from the previous quarter, CREA reported.

Actual home sales numbered 266,114 units in the first nine month of 2005, 4.1 percent above the previous record for the same period set in 2004. On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales activity in the first nine months of 2005 was up 4.4 percent compared the same period in 2004.

Driven by sales activity in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, strong third quarter results pushed the activity for the year to date in September to its highest level on record for any nine-month period.

Actual MLS residential new listings numbered 433,394 units in the first nine months of 2005 – a 4 percent increase from the same period in 2004 and the highest level on record for the first nine months in any year.

“A bigger increase in sales than for new listings caused the market to tighten in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of 2005,” said CREA’s Chief Economist Gregory Klump.

“With demand still running strong, the major market MLS residential average price remains well above where it stood last year, and set new records for the month of September, the third quarter, and for the period from January to September.”

The major market MLS residential average price reached $271,479 in September– up 10.7 percent from the same month last year. Year-over-year gains in the major market MLS residential average price stood above 10 percent throughout the third quarter. The major market MLS residential average price rose 10.7 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, and by 9.2 per cent for the first nine months of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004.

Average sale price hit its highest level on record for the month of September in almost every major market, and reached its highest quarterly level on record in a number of major markets including Vancouver and Montreal in the third quarter of 2005.

“The continuation of low interest rates have kept resale housing demand exceptionally strong throughout the third quarter,” said Klump. “Even now that short-term interest rates have begun to inch higher, they are still low and will do little to slow resale housing market activity.

Combined with additional full-time job growth in the third quarter, resale housing demand will remain strong over the rest of the year and in 2006.”

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