January home prices up 19% for year
The number of home sales declined 2.8 per cent in January compared with the near record level in December, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Wednesday. Ontario accounted for about half the national decline, but activity was also down in British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba. Conversely, home sales reached new heights in Quebec, the association said. Year over year, home sales were 58 per cent higher in January 2010 than they were in the same month last year, when housing activity reached the lowest level in a decade during the depths of the recession. "Because activity began recovering in February last year, large year-over-year gains are expected to shrink over upcoming months," the real estate group said in a release. The average price of all homes sold through the body's online Multiple Listings Service in January 2010 was $328,537, up 19.6 per cent from one year ago. In January 2009, the average Canadian home price hit its lowest level in three years. Inventory levels continue to be depressed, which is contributing to the price gains. Strong demand for resale homes continues to draw down supply. There were 170,199 homes listed for sale on MLS in Canada at the end of January 2010, a decline of 18 per cent from levels reported for the same month in 2009. That put the inventory level at 6.6 months, well below the 12.8-month level it was at in January 2009.
(Nathan Dennette/Canadian Press via CBC News)