POLITICS

October home sales up 0.7% from September and 7% from year ago: CREA

11/17/2014 09:11 EST | Updated 01/17/2015 05:59 EST
OTTAWA - Canadian home sales in October were up seven per cent compared with a year ago, driven by the markets in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.

Canadian Real Estate Association said Monday the increase came as sales last month climbed 0.7 per cent nationally compared with September, when sales dipped.

"Low interest rates continued to support sales in some of Canada’s more active and expensive urban housing markets and factored into the monthly increase for national sales," CREA president Beth Crosbie said in a statement.

The average price of a home sold through the Multiple Listing Service was $419,699 in October, up 7.1 per cent from $391,931 in October 2013. The aggregate composite MLS home price index was up 5.51 per cent compared with a year ago.

CREA noted sales in Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Calgary and Toronto combined to account for almost 40 per cent of the sales nationally and nearly 60 per cent of the year-over-year increase.

Bank of Montreal senior economist Robert Kavcic cautioned that the national totals masked "widely divergent regional trends."

"In fact, any talk of housing market strength really comes down to a discussion about Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto," Kavcic noted.

"It’s still a three-city show in Canada’s housing market. While price momentum in Calgary might finally be slowing, Vancouver and Toronto continue to strengthen."

The number of newly listed homes rose 0.8 per cent in October compared to September while the sales-to-new listings ratio was 55.7 per cent in October, suggesting a balanced housing market.

CREA noted that just over half of all local markets were within the 40 to 60 per cent range it suggests represents a balanced market.