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Real Estate Prices Rise 11.2%

The average resale home in January cost 11.2 per cent more than it did a year earlier, new figures show. The average selling price in Canada's major markets last month was $299,318, according to MLS data from the Canadian Real Estate Association. That's up more than $30,000 from January 2006.

Price gains in Edmonton and Calgary led the country, figures show. Edmonton's prices were up an astonishing 52.6 per cent over the 12-month period — to $303,820. Average selling prices in Calgary rose 29.6 per cent to $375,646.

Those were record prices in both Calgary and Edmonton. Prices also reached all-time highs in Saskatoon, Hamilton-Burlington, London, St. Thomas and Quebec City.

The most expensive real estate in the country continued to be in Vancouver, where the average home sold for $530,695 in January — up 16 per cent over the last year.

Prices in Central and Eastern Canada rose by much more modest amounts. Toronto real estate increased by 6.3 per cent (to $353,724); Montreal by 2.4 per cent (to $209,651); and Halifax by 2.5 per cent to ($197,246).

"Low mortgage interest rates, high employment, rising incomes and upbeat consumer sentiment will keep the housing market on a strong footing for the foreseeable future," CREA economist Gregoy Klump said in a statement.

CREA said rising home prices have prompted it to ask Ottawa to boost the maximum loan available under the Home Buyers Plan.

Currently, first-time home buyers are allowed to take $20,000 out of their RRSPs to use as a down payment. The limit hasn't changed since the program began in 1992.

CREA wants the maximum allowed individual withdrawal boosted to $25,000.

Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 02:12AM by Registered CommenterElaine | CommentsPost a Comment

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