Home sales surprise investors

Monthly home sales continue to close the gap between themselves and their pre-mortgage-rule-change counterparts.

June numbers came in a modest 0.6 per cent down from the same month last year, said the Canadian Real Estate Association Monday. They were actually up 3.3 per cent from May, representing the fourth such climb in as many months.

The divide between year-over-year numbers is expected to disappear in July, given a more apple-to-apples comparison. July 2012 saw a significant slowdown in sales activity as the federal government's tighter mortgage rules took hold.

Investors were among those benefiting from the downshift as competition for single-family properties fell and prices -- at least in some markets -- cooled. That phenomenon will likely come to a close in July, say analysts, although the growing threat of higher fixed interest rates may rein in any wave of future buying.

Still, CREA and other industry players are focused on the here and now.

"For the second month in a row, sales improved in the majority of local markets," said CREA President Laura Leyser. "Whether those gains reflect temporary factors or a fundamental improvement after a slow start to the year really depends on where you are.

The association's economist is also

When compared to year-ago levels, the number of local markets was split evenly between those with year-over-year declines and those that posted gains in June. Greater Toronto and Montreal remain below year-ago levels, although their declines continue to shrink. Meanwhile, sales in Greater Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton were up compared to last June.

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