Canadian home sales firmed in May but 2013 is still expected to be a slower year than last year or next year, the Canadian Real Estate Association said today.

Home sales were up 3.6 percent from April to May on a seasonally adjusted basis, but down 2.6 percent from a year ago, CREA said. About 60 percent of markets saw a decline in transactions from a year ago.

The increase — the largest monthly gain in nearly two and a half years — was the first “noteworthy” increase in the last nine months, CREA said, bringing sales back nearly to where they were last summer when new mortgage rules came into effect.

The number of newly listed homes was up 1.9 percent from April to May, with about two-thirds of local markets seeing annual gains.

Nationally, there were 6.4 months of inventory at the end of May, down from 6.6 months at the end of April.

The actual national average price for homes sold in April was $388,910, up 3.7 percent from a year ago.

In updating its 2013-2014 forecast, CREA said sales of existing homes are expected to total 443,400 in 2013, down 2.5 percent from 2012. That’s an upward revision from the previous forecast, which estimated sales would be down 2.9 percent this year.

CREA expects sales will grow by 4.7 percent next year, to a total of 464,300 units, slightly below the 10-year average.


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