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Home sales set new record

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Business Reporter
Existing home sales across Canada set a new all time monthly record in January as warmer than normal temperatures helped to bring out the buyers.

Seasonally adjusted activity rose by 3.4 per cent from December and surpassed the previous monthly record of August 2005 by 3 per cent according to figures released by the Canadian Real Estate Association.

“Low mortgage interest rates, high employment, rising incomes and upbeat consumer sentiment will keep the housing market on a strong footing for the foreseeable future,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump.

The average price of a home in Canada is $299,318. That’s up 11.2 per cent from January of 2006, thanks largely to frenzied house buying activity in oil rich western Canada that has seen prices jump by as much as 58 per cent in cities such as Edmonton.

In Toronto, warm weather also helped lift existing home sales to a record.

The average price of a home in the Toronto area is now $353,724, up 9 per cent from last January.

Much colder weather this month may take back some of the gains made in January however, as economists expect the housing market to moderate this year.

One reason could be moderately rising interest rates. After falling in the second half of last year, mortgage rates at large banks rose by about 20 basis points in January. The posted one year mortgage rates at large banks was 6.5 per cent on February 7, up from 6.3 per cent in December. The posted five year rate was 6.65 per cent, up from 6.45 per cent in December.