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Residential Listing Levels Reach New Heights

New MLS® residential listing levels reach new heights in July

OTTAWA – August 29th, 2008 – The number of new listings of homes for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) of all real estate Boards in Canada set a new record in July 2008, according to MLS® statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

New MLS® residential listings numbered 80,147 units in July 2008, up 1.4 per cent from the previous month and 0.5 per cent above the previous record set in May 2008. This is the first time in any month that new listings surpassed eighty thousand units.

The number of new listings scaled to new heights in Ontario and Quebec, and in Manitoba climbed to their second-highest level since the beginning of the new millennium. This more than offset a monthly decline in the number of new listings in Alberta, where levels continue retreating from the peak reached in March.

Seasonally adjusted national sales activity in July 2008 was stable compared to the previous month. It has been holding steady since posting a 6.0 per cent month-over-month decline in February. Monthly activity rose in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for the second time in as many months. Activity also rose on a month-over-month basis in Newfoundland & Labrador. The monthly increase in activity in these provinces was offset by a monthly decline in activity in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

Sales activity set a new monthly record in Manitoba, and in Newfoundland & Labrador. It also climbed to its highest point on record for the year-to-date in these provinces.

Resale housing market balance is represented by sales as a percentage of new listings. The continuing rise in the number of new listings is resulting in a considerably more balanced resale housing market this year than buyers faced last year. This trend is most apparent in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, which remained the most balanced provincial markets in July. The market is showing signs of stabilizing in Alberta, where new listings have declined and market balance has tightened in each of the months from April to July 2008.

The national MLS® residential average price eased by 2.4 per cent year-over-year in July 2008, compared to the average price decline of 3.6 per cent in the major markets in Canada reported by CREA earlier this month. The MLS® price decline reflects softening average prices in Alberta and an increase in the province’s share of national sales activity compared to year-ago levels. By contrast, residential average price climbed to its highest level for the month of July in all other provinces except British Columbia, and its highest level ever in Newfoundland & Labrador. Average price for the year to date (as of July 2008) is 2.7 percent above where it stood over the same period last year.

Seasonally adjusted dollar volume for MLS® sales totaled $11.8 billion in July 2008, climbing to the highest level ever in Manitoba and Nova Scotia. It also reached the highest level on record for the month of July in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland & Labrador. Volume for the year to date in July also achieved the second highest level on record, down 16.6 per cent from the peak last year.

"To keep things in perspective, 2007 was a record year for MLS® sales in Canada," says the President of The Canadian Real Estate Association, Calvin Lindberg. "The fact that sales volume continue at levels so close to that record year indicates what a dynamic and active real estate market there is in many regions of the country."

"The other factor is that the more listings there are on the market, the bigger the impact on the average price," the CREA President adds. "It means a market when buyers have more options, and sellers must be realistic in their pricing expectations. A REALTOR® has expertise and marketing resources to help both."

"The trend for new listings generally reflects recent price trends," said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. "While still elevated, new listings in Alberta are easing and market balance is stabilizing now that prices there have softened. Similar trends are expected to play out in other western provinces where prices posted sharp gains last year," he said.

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