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A for sale sign sits in front of a Mississauga residential home in this file photo. (J.P. MOCZULSKI For The Globe and Mail)
A for sale sign sits in front of a Mississauga residential home in this file photo. (J.P. MOCZULSKI For The Globe and Mail)

Sales gains signal strong spring for much of Canada’s housing market Add to ...

The Globe’s new Real Estate Beat offers news and analysis on the Canadian housing market from real estate reporter, Tara Perkins, and others. Read more on The Globe’s housing page and follow Tara on Twitter @TaraPerkins.

Local real estate boards across the country have begun to release their sales data for the month of April, and it looks like the spring housing market is fairly strong.

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The full picture won’t be clear until mid-month, when the Canadian Real Estate Association compiles data from real estate boards coast to coast and releases national figures.

But cities like Toronto and Regina are reporting sales levels that top the ten-year average for the month of April. And cities like Edmonton and Vancouver are showing double-digit increases over this time last year (although Vancouver’s sales level for the month was 5.2 per cent below its 10-year average).

Here’s some of what we know:

Edmonton:

  • Sales up about 12.6 per cent from a year ago
  • The average selling price was $365,045, up 4.5 per cent from a year ago
  • Thirteen homes sold for more than $1-million

Regina:

  • Sales up 16 per cent from a year ago
  • The average selling price was $317,176, relatively flat from $317,065 a year ago
  • The MLS Home Price Index, which seeks to be more of an apples-to-apples comparison of prices than the average, was down 1.5 per cent from a year ago, with a benchmark price of $305,000

Toronto:

  • Sales up 1.8 per cent from a year ago
  • The average selling price was $577,898, up 10.1 per cent from a year ago
  • The MLS Home Price Index was up 7 per cent from a year ago

Vancouver:

  • Sales up 16.1 per cent from a year ago
  • The MLS Home Price Index benchmark price was $619,000, up 3.6 per cent from a year ago
  • Total listings were down 7.3 per cent from a year ago

Calgary:

  • Sales up 7 per cent from a year ago
  • The benchmark price of single-family houses was $496,700, up 9.67 per cent from a year ago
  • Listings up 8 per cent from a year ago

Ottawa:

  • Sales down about 9.5 per cent from a year ago
  • The average sale price was $374,015, up 0.8 per cent from a year ago
  • The average sale price for a condo was $258,500, down 3 per cent; the average sale price of other types of homes was $399,541, up 0.9 per cent.

These numbers are based on sales of existing homes over the Multiple Listing Service for each city, and generally also include the surrounding area. They come from the local real estate boards, which represent realtors.

Given that realtors have a vested interest in the housing market, the boards and the national body (the Canadian Real Estate Association) face some skepticism about some of the data, especially from those who think the housing market is overheated.

I’ll point out, it doesn’t help matters when the press release that the local real estate board writes to convey its monthly statistics includes a sales pitch like this... “The spring is a great time to buy or sell real estate, especially with interest rates continuing to remain low,” says (Randy) Oickle (President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board). “Talk to an Ottawa-area REALTOR(r) today for help with buying and/or selling a home, and you will have an ally from start to finish, and everything in between.”

Follow on Twitter: @taraperkins

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