Fueled by record activity in Alberta and Newfoundland, and by strong activity in Ontario, national sales of existing homes via the Multiple Listing Service rose to their fifth-highest seasonally adjusted monthly level on record in January, The Canadian Real Estate Association reported.

According to CREA’s statistics, a seasonally adjusted total of 41,347 units were sold through MLS in January, up 2.7 percent from the 40,265 sales recorded during the previous month.

Sales activity reached its highest monthly level on record in Alberta and Newfoundland, CREA reported. Activity also set records for the month of January nationally, and in British Columbia and New Brunswick. Seasonally adjusted activity in January was also just 3.3 percent lower than the highest monthly level on record, which was reached in August 2005.

The national MLS residential average price hit $258,274 in January to reach its highest level on record. Average price was up 12.6 percent compared to January 2005, marking the largest year-over-year increase in residential average price since May 2004. MLS residential average price reached its highest monthly levels on record in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, and set new records for the month of January in every province except Newfoundland.

“Price increases are expected to become more modest in 2006, as rising interest rates and mortgage carrying costs gradually cool resale-housing demand and result in a more balanced market condition,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump.

Seasonally adjusted new MLS residential listings totaled 64,582 units in January, according to CREA. This is an increase of 6.2 percent from December, and the largest month-over-month increase in new listings since August 2005. Seasonally adjusted new listings reached their highest monthly levels on record in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

The monthly increase in new listings was larger than the increase in sales, which caused the national market for existing homes to become slightly more balanced in January compared to the previous month.

Seasonally adjusted dollar volume reached $11.1 billion in January, its highest level on record. Dollar volume set new monthly records in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Newfoundland, and reached its highest levels ever for the month of January in every province except Prince Edward Island.


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