The Canadian Real Estate Association reported today that home sales activity via the nation’s Multiple Listing Service dropped 4.1 percent in July 2006 compared to July 2005, and fell 2.9 percent compared to June.

“The monthly decline in sales activity was largely the result of fewer transactions in Vancouver and Calgary, which more than offset smaller monthly increases in Edmonton and a number of other major markets,” the association reported.

Sales activity reached 27,231 units in July, and year-to-date transactions in July were 2.6 percent ahead of levels posted for the first seven months of 2005.

Year-to-date activity reached the highest level on record in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Saint John, among other major markets, the association reported.

Seasonally adjusted MLS residential new listings numbered 47,557 units in July, which represents a 1.9 percent increase from June and is the highest level in about 15 years. “The monthly decline in sales and the increase in new listings caused the market to become more balanced than during any other month in the past 5.5 years,” the association reported.

New listings reached the highest level on record in Calgary, and the second highest level on record in Toronto and Montreal.

The MLS residential average price in Canada’s major markets was $264,138 (at current exchange rate in U.S. dollars) in July 2006 — up 10.1 percent from levels recorded one year ago. Average price surpassed all previous monthly records in a number of major markets, including Edmonton, London & St. Thomas, St. Catharines, and Montreal, the association reported.

“Sales edged lower in Vancouver and returned to more normal levels in Calgary, which caused total resale housing activity in Canada’s major markets to ease slightly in July,” said Alan Tennant, president of The Canadian Real Estate Association.

Gregory Klump, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement, “Market conditions will become increasingly balanced as sales activity softens and active listings continue to rise. This will help to keep price gains in check in the coming months.”

Statistical information in the association’s report includes all housing types. The Canadian Real Estate Association represents about 85,000 Realtors working through 99 real estate boards, 10 provincial associations and one territorial association.

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