Home sales in Toronto, Canada, fell 5 percent in April compared to a year ago, marking the first year-over-year decline in 10 months, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported Wednesday.

In April, 8,361 homes changed hands, down from 8,834 reported a year earlier, according to TREB.

The last month the Toronto market saw a decline in sales was June 2005, when activity dipped 1 percent from the June 2004 level.

Overall year-to-date sales at the end of the month were nearly 5 percent ahead of 2005’s pace, following a record first-quarter this year.

“The year began very strongly,” said TREB President John Meehan. “The warm weather we experienced early on got activity going sooner than usual, effectively moving the peak spring market forward a few weeks.”

A number of neighborhoods consisting largely of detached houses were among the most active in the Toronto area during the month, compared to April 2005:

  • Wilson Heights in North York saw 29 percent more transactions during the month, in comparison to April of last year.

  • Etobicoke’s South Humber district saw the largest increase in activity compared to April of last year, as 63 percent more homes changed hands.

  • Outside the city, overall sales activity in the Richmond Hill North area was 35 percent higher than last April.

“Active listings are up about 4 percent indicating a slight shift in what has been predominately a seller’s market,” Meehan said. “Realtors who had been employing the marketing strategy of holding off offers to a future date are now encouraging their sellers to entertain the offers as they get registered. With interest rates staying low it’s an excellent time to be in the market whether you are moving up, moving down or just getting started.”

Home prices trended upward in April, with the average rising 7 percent to $366,683 from the year-ago price of $342,032. Meehan said that with the rise in listings last month, “further (price) increases should be quite limited for the remainder of the year.”

The Toronto Real Estate Board serves more than 23,000 Realtors throughout the Greater Toronto area.

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