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Canadian home sales, prices hit record highs again in September: CREA

A real estate for sale sign is pictured in front of a home in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ben Nelms/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian home sales climbed 0.9% in September from August, raising them to a new all-time monthly record for the third month in a row, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said on Thursday.

The industry group said actual sales, not seasonally adjusted, rose 45.6% from a year earlier, while the group’s Home Price Index was up 10.3% from September last year and up 1.3% from August.

“This is starting to sound like a broken record (about records being broken), but Canadian home sales and prices set records once again in September ... as they did in July and August,” said Shaun Cathcart, senior economist at CREA, in a statement.

The largest price gains were in smaller Ontario cities and in the capital region of Ottawa, with further flung Toronto suburbs and Ontario cottage towns also showing very strong year-over-year gains.

This reinforces the view that Canadians are fleeing the tight confines of urban centers for larger spaces amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Home has been our workplace, our kids’ schools, the gym, the park and more. Personal space is more important than ever,” said Cathcart.

The actual average home price in Canada jumped 17.5%, hitting a record C$604,211 ($456,766.71) in September.

While the strength of the Canadian housing market through the COVID-19 pandemic has shocked analysts, many warn that the record shattering pace cannot continue.

“We doubt that this recent sizzling strength can persist amid some of the building headwinds,” said Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, in a note. “The underlying economic conditions simply do not support such a piping hot market over a sustained period.”

Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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