Resale housing activity in Canada’s major markets started 2006 on a strong note, as sales grew 3.1 percent in January from the previous month, according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association.

Seasonally adjusted home sales via the Multiple Listing Service in Canada’s major markets totaled 28,840 units in January, up from 27,966 sales in December. This is the highest monthly level posted since September 2005 and is just 2.4 percent below the highest monthly level on record, which was reached last August.

Seasonally adjusted sales reached their highest monthly levels on record in Calgary and Edmonton in January. In Toronto, actual (unadjusted) sales activity reached its highest level for the month of January since 2002.

The MLS residential average price was up 10.2 percent year-over-year to $269,680 in January, the association reported. MLS residential average prices reached their highest levels on record in Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg.

“Price increases are generally expected to become more modest as rising interest rates and mortgage carrying costs gradually cool resale housing demand and result in a more balanced market in 2006,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “Calgary and Edmonton may prove to be exceptions to the general trend toward smaller price increases this year due to a growing shortage of listings and exceptionally strong sales activity.”

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