National sales of Canada’s existing homes sold through the Multiple Listing Service set new records in the third quarter of 2005, according to statistics released Monday by The Canadian Real Estate Association.

MLS home sales reached their highest quarterly level on a national basis, and in all provinces except Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. On a seasonally adjusted basis, a total of 126,890 homes were sold via MLS in Canada during the third quarter, up 3.3 percent over the previous record set in the second quarter of 2005.

For September, a seasonally adjusted total of 42,254 homes traded hands via MLS, which was their second-highest monthly level on record. Last month’s activity was just 2.7 percent lower than the record number of transactions set in August 2005. Sales activity in September also set a monthly record in Alberta and Nova Scotia.

MLS home sales for the first nine months of 2005 continued to run ahead of sales recorded during the same period in 2004. At 383,574 units, actual MLS home sales in Canada for the first nine months of the year were 4.1 percent higher than sales recorded during the same period last year.

Seasonally adjusted new residential listings on MLS reached their highest level since 1990 in September and in the third quarter of 2005. New residential listings for the first nine months of this year reached their highest year-to-date level on record on a national basis, and in Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

The national MLS residential average price set a new monthly record, rising 11.9 percent year-over-year to $254,103 in September. This represents the strongest gain in average price so far this year. The MLS residential average price reached its highest quarterly level on record in British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.

“The continuation of low mortgage interest rates have kept resale housing demand exceptionally strong throughout the third quarter of 2005,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory 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.

“Home buyers will continue to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates to invest in higher-priced homes next year. Additional higher-priced home sales activity combined with fewer lower-priced homes available for sale will keep year-over-year average price increases near current levels over the next six months,” Klump added.

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