Investors, get ready for more bidding wars!

Actual activity, as opposed to seasonally adjusted, rose 1.6% above the year-ago period’s, but it was month-over-month sales that climbed that 2.5%, according to Canadian Real Estate Association’s latest report, issued Monday.

At the same time, the number of newly listed homes eased 0.3% from February to March.

The combination of increased sales and less inventory means the market is shifting away from the “well-balanced” one CREA projected for 2012’s spring season. It also means that prices are expected to further climb in several key markets, although slowing price escalation in Vancouver skewed national numbers.

Sales activity over the Multiple Listing Service rose 2.5 per cent from February to March, an increase lifting national activity to its highest monthly level since April 2010. The year-over-year picture is slightly different, with the national average home price edged down 0.5% this March compared to the 2011 period.

"The decline in average price reflects the change in Vancouver's sales mix, not housing price deflation,” said Greg Klump, CREA's chief economist. “The national average price was skewed higher last spring by record level high-end home sales in some of Vancouver's priciest neighbourhoods. It was expected that this would not recur this spring, which the latest sales figures confirm.”

Activity in March was up from the previous month in two-thirds of all local markets, with Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton contributing most to the national increase.

It means that real estate investors focused on adding to their holdings in those hot markets will face a scarcity of product and an increase in the number of competing first-time homebuyers among others attracted by today’s low interest rates.

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