Economic conditions remain upbeat for real estate market

MLS® resale housing activity in Canada’s major markets remained strong in the third quarter of 2007, despite edging back from the previous quarter’s record levels, according to statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association.

“Over the long haul, a strong and stable market is good for both buyers and sellers,” said CREA president Ann Bosley. “We have not seen any of the large adjustments that have affected markets in the United States.

“The underlying economic conditions in Canada that affect real estate are still very strong,” she added. “The main reason for any market adjustment stems from volume of new listings.”

Seasonally-adjusted MLS® sales activity totaled 89,482 units in the third quarter of 2007, representing the third highest quarterly level on record.

 Activity eased 4.1 per cent from the record set in the previous quarter, and was less than one per cent below the second-highest level, reached in the first quarter. The quarterly decline resulted mainly from fewer unit sales in Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal, which more than offset increased sales activity in Vancouver.

In Winnipeg, third-quarter MLS® sales were ahead of last year’s pace by just under seven per cent with 10,503 units sold, according to the WinnipegREALTORS® Association.

“With a full quarter of MLS® market activity remaining for 2007, WinnipegREALTORS® has already produced the equivalent of a solid annual performance ... and dollar volume is closing in on last year’s record level of $1.86 billion,” said WinnipegREALTORS® president Wes Schollenberg.

MLS® sales across Canada remain very strong in many major markets. Seasonally-adjusted transactions posted the highest quarterly level on record in London and St. Thomas, Ottawa and St. John’s. Activity also reached the second highest level on record in Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and Montreal.

On a year-to-date basis, activity continues to run well ahead of levels recorded last year. Sales in Canada’s major markets numbered 291,003 units in the first nine months of 2007, up 8.7 per cent from the same period in 2006. 

MLS® residential new listings numbered 148,022 units on a seasonally-adjusted basis in the third quarter of 2007 — the second highest level on record  and less than one per cent below the record set in the second quarter this year.

The slight drop in new listings was smaller than the quarterly sales decline, which caused the MLS® resale housing market to become more balanced in the third quarter.

A substantial increase in new listings caused markets in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina to become more balanced. By contrast, markets in Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa and Saint John have lower listing levels than were recorded at the start of the year.

“Resale housing activity remains strong, but it is beginning to ease back from its breakneck pace recorded in the first half of the year,” said CREA chief economist Gregory Klump. “Sales activity remains on track to set a new annual record this year.

“The recent surge in new listings has quickly put major markets in Alberta into balanced territory,” he added. “Buyers in those markets will likely take more time to shop, and remove some of the steam from price increases.”