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By: CTVNews.ca Staff

Date: Monday Apr. 16, 2012 7:13 AM PT

 

Average housing prices in Canada edged down slightly last month but sales rose to the highest monthly level in close to two years. The latest nation-wide housing numbers were released by the Canadian Real Estate Agency on Monday. According to the statement, the national average for home prices was down 0.5 per cent in March, compared to one year earlier.

 

That meant the national average price for a home sold in March 2012 was $369,677, but individual markets varied widely, said Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist.

"Average prices are up from year-ago levels in most large urban centres," Klump said in a release. "The slight decline in the national average price points to a tug of war between Toronto and Vancouver from the standpoint of their sales mix compared to last year."

 

He added that the national average home price last spring was "skewed higher" by record high-end home sales in Vancouver. The latest figures confirmed the expectation that the phenomenon would not recur this year. "The decline in average price reflects the change in Vancouver's sales mix, not housing price deflation," Klump said. The March average of $369,677 was down from just under $373,000 in February and down from $371,591 in March 2011.

 

Meanwhile, home sales rose 2.5 per cent from February to March on average across Canada, with two-thirds of all local markets showing increases in sales, with Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton leading the pack. In total 108,373 homes traded hands through the industry's MLS system in the first three months of the year. According to the CREA, that marked a 5 per cent increase over the five-year average for first quarter sales. It was 3.8 per cent above the 10-year average, and 4.4 per cent above activity in the first quarter of 2011.

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