Housing market cools in August, Prices rise 0.3% even as sales activity declines by 8.9%, CBC News

This article appeared on the CBC.ca website on September 17th, 2012 and was written by Darren Calabrese.

Home sales declined by almost nine per cent in August even as prices ticked slightly higher, data from the Canadian Real Estate Association showed today.

The 8.9 per cent decline in activity is the largest annual drop since April 2011, CREA said, and was led by declines in major markets such as Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.

While the number of sales declined, prices held up. CREA says the average price of a Canadian home sold in August was $350,192, up 0.3 per cent from where it was a year ago.

As it has several times in the past year, CREA warned that the national average price is being skewed by a several factors, most notably fewer sales in Vancouver this year compared with 2011.

If Vancouver activity is stripped out of the equation, the national average price has increased 3.3 per cent in the year up to the end of August.

In a separate release, the real estate group updated its housing forecast for the year. CREA now expects fewer home sales this year and next, and it predicts the average home price for 2012 as a whole will come in at $365,000, a 0.6 per cent rise from 2011’s average.

For 2013, CREA predicts a slight pullback, with prices ticking down 0.1 per cent to $364,500.