Existing home sales rise 1.2 percent in October

Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:56am EST
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) - Sales of existing homes in Canada rose in October to the highest level since January, boosting forecasts for national resale activity for 2011 and confirming Canada's housing market remains robust.

National sales of existing homes rose 1.2 percent in October from the previous month, building on September's 2.5 percent gain, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said on Monday.

The industry group said sales activity was up 8.5 percent above October 2010, reflecting weakened activity one year ago and a pickup in activity after a mid-year lull.

"There was no shortage of headline news in October about global financial market volatility and economic uncertainty, but it doesn't appear to have dampened homebuyers' spirits," Gary Morse, CREA president, said in a statement.

"Interest rates are at low levels and are likely to stay that way for some time to come. Homebuyers clearly see the opportunities that the current interest rate environment presents," he said.

CREA said the national average price in October rose 5.5 percent from a year earlier to just under C$362,899 ($356,000), the smallest increase since January.

Two straight months of increases, including stronger-than-expected growth in Ontario's housing market, have boosted the group's 2011 and 2012 forecasts. CREA increased its annual sales growth forecast for 2011 to 1.4 percent from 0.9 percent.


<p>A sold sign is displayed in front of a home in Toronto December 15, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Cassese</p>