WRAPUP 2-Canadian April home sales edge up from March, down on year

Wed May 15, 2013 12:02pm EDT
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* Home sales up 0.6 percent in April from March, down 3.1 percent on year

* Price index rose 2.2 percent in April

* Economists see stabilization in housing market

By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO, May 15 (Reuters) - Canadian home sales rose in April, the second straight monthly gain, as spring homebuying breathed life back into the slowing real estate sector and bolstered hopes Canada will manage a soft landing rather than a U.S.-style housing crash.

Sales of existing homes climbed 0.6 percent in April from March, but year-over-year sales were down 3.1 percent, the Canadian Real Estate Association said on Wednesday in a report that showed a spring bounce in a housing sector that had been slowing since the middle of 2012.

"Realizing that it may be a tad premature for victory laps, but evidence continues to mount that the Canadian housing market seems to have pulled off the fabled soft landing," Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a research note.

CREA's home price index rose 2.2 percent in April from a year earlier, its smallest gain in more than two years. That echoed the 2.0 percent April gain in the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index reported on Tuesday.   Continued...