Record Home Sales in Nation-Wide Rebound

It's great to be on the front line of the Canadian real estate industry as we watch the market start to rebound, showing some of the best numbers in a while.

The number of Canadian homes sold went up 18%-  the biggest year-over-year increase since early 2002, and the most homes sold countrywide - ever - in the third quarter of a year (July to September).

The Canadian Real Estate Association has just reported that 135,182 homes were sold countrywide in the third quarter, up 18 per cent from a year earlier and the most ever for the period.

Seasonally-adjusted national MLS home sales are at 127,941 homes in the third quarter, which sits at 45% above the low reached in the fourth quarter of 2008.

More than two-thirds of housing markets across Canada experienced as much as 34% increased activity in the third quarter over the second quarter of 2009 (April to June).

And there's been an increase in the short supply of homes on the market this past quarter, after a decline in house inventories from July 2008 to July 2009. But it hasn't been a big enough increase to send home prices spiking; there's only been a increase of 9.3% in average prices for MLS residential listings from spring 2009 to fall 2009.

These are encouraging statistics, to say the least. Rebounding consumer confidence as a result of an improving overall economic security, as well as continuing low interest rates, are responsible for the rebound in home sales.

It appears that the "bottom" of the real estate market in Canada has come and gone - and we are all rising up as the economy heals.

Americans Think of their Home as an ATM

I was interviewed a few days ago by The Financial Post about how Canada's housing market is booming, while foreclosures still drag on the US.

Several reasons for this difference were examined, with the running theme of how much more conservative Canadian banks are when it comes to lending money, and how much more conservative Canadian consumers are when it comes to debt and living beyond their means. Americans see the value of their home more as an ATM than Canadians do.

Canada has benefited from having a more structured housing market. I give the banks in Canada a lot of credit for not creating products with low-interest payments upfront that give way to balloon payments. No-money-down loans have been banned by Ottawa for government-insured mortgages, and interest-only loans are rare in Canada.

How is the improving market affecting your decision to buy or sell a home? Leave your comments below.

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