Canadian Home Sales Down Nearly 12 Per Cent From Year Earlier: CREA

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HOME SALES CANADA NOVEMBER 2012
The Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales edged down 1.7 per cent month over month in November and were back where they stood in August. (The Canadian Press Images-Mario Beauregard) | CP

OTTAWA, Ont. — Canadian home sales suffered their second straight monthly decline in November and were back where they stood in August, according to the latest figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association.

The number of home sales through the association's Multiple Listing Service edged down 1.7 per cent in November from October, CREA said Monday. That followed a drop of about one-tenth of a per cent in September.

Actual, or non-seasonally adjusted sales, were down 11.9 per cent from November 2011 while the national average home price in November was $356,687, off 0.8 per cent from November 2011.

At the same time, the number of newly listed homes declined just under one per cent in November from October and the market remains "firmly in balanced territory,'' CREA said.

Sales were down on a year-over-year basis in three of every four of all local markets in November, including most large urban centres. Calgary stood out as an exception, with sales up 10.6 per cent from a year ago.

Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver contributed most to the small decline at the national level.

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A total of 432,861 homes have traded hands over the MLS system so far this year, down 0.2 per cent from levels reported over the first 11 months of 2011 and 0.8 per cent below the 10-year average for the period.

CREA says sales geared down in August in the wake of tighter mortgage lending rules and have since been running about eight per cent below levels in the first half of the year.

"National sales activity lacks the momentum it had a year ago,'' said Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist.

"Interest rates have remained low and the economic backdrop has remained supportive for housing activity, so that should leave little doubt that recent changes to mortgage regulations are responsible for having cooled activity.''

Although the non-seasonally adjusted national average price was lower in November than a year ago, CREA notes that the average continues to be influenced by fewer sales in Vancouver and Toronto. Excluding these two markets, prices were up 3.2 per cent.

As well, the MLS Home Price Index , which is not affected changes in the mix of sales, showed prices up 3.5 per cent nationally on a year-over-year basis in November.

However, it was the seventh consecutive month in which the year-over-year gain shrank and marked the slowest rate of increase since May 2011.

The MLS HPI rose fastest in Regina, up 11.6 per cent year over year in November, though down from 13 per cent in November.

Among other markets, the HPI was up 4.6 per cent year over year in Toronto , 1.9 per cent in Montreal and 7.1 per cent in Calgary. In Greater Vancouver, the HPI was down 1.7 per cent year over year.

The Canadian Real Estate Association represents more than 106,000 realtors working through more than 100 real estate boards and associations.

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