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Canadian existing home sales rose nearly two per cent in the month of August, marking the seventh consecutive month-over-month increase and the highest level for sales since January 2010.

That’s according to a report released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association, which predicts home sales will rise to 475,000 units in 2014, up 3.8 per cent compared to 2013.

Fueled by increases in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, actual home sales for the month stood 2.1 per cent above August 2013 numbers, with the national average sale price jumping 5.3 per cent compared to the same time last year, reaching $398,618.

At the same time, the MLS Home Price Index also rose 5.3 per cent on a year-over-year basis in August. The MLS Home Price Index is considered a more accurate gauge of price trends that is unaffected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way the average price is.

“Listings and sales this spring were deferred due to unseasonably harsh weather, which subsequently supported activity once the delayed spring home buying season got into gear,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

Klump pointed out, however, that while national activity has yet to lag, sales were down in the majority of local markets across the country, which could be an early indicator that the transitory boost is fading.

But for now, he said, low interest rates will continue to support housing affordability and sales.

The national average home price is expected to rise to $405,000 in 2014, an increase of 5.9 per cent from a year earlier, with similar price rises in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.

CREA monthly

Image: CREA

Here’s what we know about last month’s sales numbers:

  • Year-to-date transactions were up 4.3 per cent compared to the first eight months of 2013, which is in line with the 10-year average.
  • New supply was down in about 60 per cent of local markets, with the number of newly listed homes falling 1.2 per cent in August compared to July.
  • The housing market became slightly tighter, with the national sales-to-new listings ratio reaching 55.5 per cent in August compared to 53.9 per cent in July.
  • The number of newly listed homes fell 1.2 per cent from July to August.

Here’s a breakdown of price changes in July 2014:

  • CREA’s MLS Home Price Index rose by 5.33 per cent year-over-year, which was unchanged from July and little slightly higher than June.
  • Year-over-year price growth in August picked up slightly for townhouse/row units and apartment units but slowed for one-storey single family homes and was unchanged for two-storey single family homes.
  • Two-storey single family homes continued to measure the biggest price gains, rising 6.32 per cent from last year.
  • Townhouses and row units also rose since last year, increasing 5.59 per cent, with one-storey single family family homes not far behind at a rise of 5.23 per cent.
  • Apartment units saw a modest growth of 3.38 per cent.
  • For cities, Calgary once again posted the biggest year-over-year gain at 9.83 per cent; followed by the GTA (7.82 per cent) and Greater Vancouver (5.01 per cent).
  • The actual national average price for home sales for August 2014 jumped 5.3 per cent compared to the same month last year, reaching $398, 618.
  • If you remove Toronto and Vancouver from the equation, the national average sale price dips to $324,738 and the year-over-year increase shrinks to 3.9 per cent.

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