TORONTO, June 15 (Reuters) - Resale prices for Canadian homes rose to their highest average on record in May, while sales activity climbed for a fourth straight month as consumer confidence strengthened, according to an industry report released on Monday.
But rebounding sales in some of the most expensive markets skewed the national average, the Canadian Real Estate Association said in the report.
The average home price last month rose 0.4 percent to C$319,757 ($282,971), topping the previous record set a year ago. It was the first year-over-year increase since May last year.
The average price has recovered 16.4 percent from the low reached in January, CREA said.
Home sales rose 8 percent to 37,649 units in May from April, the fourth consecutive monthly increase on a seasonally adjusted basis. Nationally, 49,521 units changed hands in May, down 0.8 percent from a year ago.
“New records were posted in only 15 percent of local markets in May, none of which are among the most active or expensive,” CREA said.
“The strong rebound in sales activity, not price, in Canada’s most expensive markets is driving up average prices nationally and in some provinces, just as a sharp decline in activity in these markets pushed average prices lower in late 2008.”
Of the 25 major markets that CREA tracks, 14 reported rises in unit sales year-over-year, with five markets, mostly in the western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, posting double-digit increases.
Prices rose in 14 markets, led by a 17.3 percent increase in Newfoundland and Labrador and a 12.1 percent climb in Saint John, New Brunswick.
$1=$1.13 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Frank McGurty