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Canadian home prices, sales volumes better than expected in 2011: Re/Max

Canadian home prices, sales volumes better than expected in 2011: Re/Max
A real estate agent puts up a "sold" sign in front of a house in Toronto Tuesday, April 20, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

SOURCE:By The Canadian Press

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - The Re/Max real-estate sales organization says Canada's housing market has been ahead of expectations this year and growth will likely continue into 2012.

It says home prices are expected to be up in 23 of the 26 local markets that it tracks, with about 460,000 changing hands by the end of 2012.

Re/Max says it expects the upward trend will continue next year but at a more moderate pace.

It expects Calgary, Saskatoon and Halifax-Dartmouth will likely lead the country in unit sales in 2011, with the volume increasing by five per cent.

The Greater Toronto Area, St. John's, N.L., Saint John, N.B., Moncton and Regina are expected also see more sales next year, about three per cent above 2011.

Consistent with other data, Re/Max says the Canadian housing market picked up steam as the year went on — helped by low interest rates and rising prices.

Many economists had expected the Bank of Canada would begin raising its key interest rate by the middle of 2012 but that didn't happen.

The central bank has kept interest rates low to stimulate the economy by making it less costly for businesses and consumers to borrow for their purchases.