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Canadian home sales picked up nationally to their second-highest level in over five years in the month of October after slowing down the month before, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

CREA said home sales through MLS systems last month climbed 1.8 per cent from September, marking the second-highest level seen for any month in close to six years.

“The continuation of low interest rates is supporting home sales activity,” explained Pauline Aunger, CREA’s president, in a new release containing stats from MLS systems across the country.

Heightened home sales activity in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and nearby areas including Hamilton, were behind the national increase seen last month, said CREA.

The increase in sales activity came as the number of newly listed homes on the market rose by 0.9 per cent month-over-month in October. Here, again, the GTA and Lower Mainland played a big part, said CREA, as did Victoria. However, lower supply in the Okanagan Region, Edmonton and Ottawa countered these gains.

The national average sale price for a Canadian home was $454,976 in October, up 8.3 per cent from the same time a year ago.

Prices are rising fastest for two-storey single-family homes. Last month, the average sales price for these shot up by 8.67 per cent year-over-year. The average price of a one-storey single-family home increased by 6.02 per cent during this period, while townhouses and row-units posted price gains of 4.88 per cent. The average condo apartment price was up 4.39 per cent year-over-year.

In October, the Canadian housing market was balanced, though it leaned towards a sellers’ market, said CREA, citing the national sales-to-new-listings ratio, which was 57.9 per cent.

The national level of Canadian housing inventory — which indicates how long it would take the supply of homes to sell at the current rate of sales — decreased to 5.5 months in October. It was at 5.7 months in September.

“As with the sales-to-new listings ratio, the October reading for months of inventory points to the tightest housing market conditions at the national level in almost six years,” said CREA in the news release.

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