Although Canadian existing-home sales via the Multiple Listing Service dipped in October, they remain on track to set an annual record this year, according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association. The number of transactions posted during the first 10 months of 2005 outpaced sales for the same period in 2004 by 4.6 percent.

A seasonally adjusted total of 41,105 units were sold through the MLS in October, down from 42,173 in September.

Despite having declined by 2.5 percent compared to the previous month, sales activity stood at its sixth-highest level on record. Sales activity was up compared to September in Manitoba, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and was unchanged compared to last month in Newfoundland. These gains were more than offset by fewer sales in all other provinces.

Sales activity set a record for the month of October on a national basis and in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Year-to-date, actual (unadjusted) sales increased compared to the same period in 2004 in all provinces except Saskatchewan, Ontario and Newfoundland.

Seasonally adjusted MLS residential new listings totaled 65,222 units in October, a decline of 2.1 percent from September. A bigger monthly decline in sales than for new listings caused the national market for existing homes to become slightly more balanced in October compared to the previous month.

The national MLS residential average price was $256,046 in October – its highest monthly level ever, and up 10.7 percent compared to the same month in 2004. This represents the fifth consecutive month of double-digit year-over-year price growth. MLS residential average price reached its highest monthly level on record in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, and set records for the month of October in every other province.

“Higher interest rates are gradually bringing sales activity down from the peak reached in August, but transactions are still running quite high,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “The gradual easing trend is forecast to continue as interest rates continue to creep higher next year. Though the number of homes trading hands over the MLS are forecast to ease, annual sales next year are expected to reach their third-highest level on record after this year’s record-breaking performance.”

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