Canada home resales rise, balanced conditions seen

Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:57am EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian home resales were firmer for a third straight month in October, suggesting a soft landing for the once red-hot sector and stable market conditions for the next two years, industry reports said on Monday.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said 35,714 homes changed hands in October, up 4.6 percent from September, as sales rose in three-quarters of the markets tracked by the association. However, sales were down 21.6 percent from a year earlier.

"If you've ever wondered what a soft landing in housing looks like, this may well be it. The string of three consecutive gains in monthly sales helps confirm a stabilization of market activity," said Pascal Gauthier, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

"The last three months of data suggest that a trough in resale housing activity may have formed earlier than we expected. Heading into 2011, sales and prices appear better supported than we last forecast in September."

Gauthier said that, even if sales held steady at October levels for the rest of the year, it would still mark a near 10 percent improvement from the third quarter.

CREA said sales activity in October stood half way between the recessionary low reached in December 2008, and the record level activity posted in December 2009, offering further evidence that the market is returning to normal.

The number of new listings rose 1.3 percent in October from September.

"National sales activity and new listings have swung widely but synchronously, which has kept the market in balanced territory since the spring," CREA said.

The industry group said the national average price in October rose 0.7 percent from a year earlier to C$343,747 ($340,344).   Continued...