Brokers enjoy busy spring?

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Brokers may have noticed a slight uptick in sales last month – a positive sign following months of decreasing housing activity.

“Existing home sales are expected to climb two per cent year over year in April, consistent with a gentle cooling trend,” Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist for the Bank of Montreal wrote in the bank’s weekly financial digest. “Our call would leave sales up modestly month over month, which would mark the third consecutive gain following a five-month losing streak.”

The slight spike wasn’t quite as significant as March’s 4.9 per cent year over year increase; though the average price increase of 6 per cent year over year in April was in line with March’s index for the same category.

Over on the west coast, Vancouver and Calgary – too of the country’s hottest markets -- continue to enjoy a housing boom.

“Vancouver sales were reported to have increased a solid 16 per cent year over year, though the level is five per cent below April’s 10-year average,” Reitzes wrote. “Calgary remains robust, up 12 per cent year over year, as a firm economy continues to drive strong population growth in Alberta.”

Shifting his focus to the east, Reitzes noted sales dropping in Montreal and Ottawa. Toronto, meanwhile, enjoyed a slight increase.

“Montreal and Ottawa were weak spots, with sales falling about nine per cent year over year, while Toronto saw a modest increase,” Reitzes wrote. “Price gains remain firm in much of the country, with average prices expected to be up about six per cent year over year, steady from the prior month.”

Reitzes believes dwindling supply has caused prices to continue to rise despite the number of purchases cooling.

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