The Canadian Real Estate Association reported today that actual home sales via the Multiple Listing Service in Canada’s major markets rose 4.4 percent, topping the previous record set last May. And sales activity for the first five months of the year was up 5 percent compared to the same period last year.

Existing-home sales activity in Canada’s major markets continued to soar in May, with actual sales activity breaking all previous records. The average home price increased 12.9 percent from May 2005 to May 2006, reaching a record $273,148 (in U.S. dollars), the association also reported.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, transactions rose to 28,441 units in May — up 2.4 percent compared to April. And 37,460 total units were sold in May. The seasonally adjusted statistics are a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted for season fluctuations in sales activity.

New year-to-date sales records were set in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, London, Kitchener, Sudbury, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Saint John.

“Seasonally adjusted sales surpassed all previous records for the month of May on a national basis, and in a number of major markets including Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Sudbury, Quebec City, Saint John, and Halifax. Actual (unadjusted) new listings also reached the highest level for any month on record in May,” the association reported.

New listings totaled 58,794 units in May — a year-over-year increase of 6.3 percent and a 3.1 percent increase from the previous peak reached in March 2006.

Seasonally adjusted MLS residential new listings increased 0.9 percent in April and reached the highest level since May 1991, at 46,117 units. “The monthly increase in new listings was less than the increase in sales activity, which caused the market to tighten slightly,” the association reported.

The MLS residential average price set monthly records in several markets, among them: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, London, Hamilton, Montreal, and Saint John.

“May marks the fourth consecutive month in which the major-market average residential price broke all previous records,” association chief economist Gregory Klump said in a statement. “Sales activity continues to run high, despite rising interest rates and home prices. This shows how additional full time job growth, rising incomes and resilient consumer confidence are working together to keep housing demand strong.”

He added, “Recent price increases are resulting in a growing shortage of lower-priced resale home listings in a number of markets. This is crimping sales in lower price ranges and pushing up the average price for MLS home sales.”

The Canadian Real Estate Association is among Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, and represents about 85,000 Realtors working through 99 real estate Boards, 10 provincial associations and one territorial association.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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