Sales of existing homes in Canada jumped in March from February and prices continued to tick higher as the winter deep freeze ended and home buyers started to come back into the market, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

The industry group for Canadian real estate agents said sales activity was up 1.0% last month from February, and February’s gain was revised up to a 0.6-% rise, from 0.3% reported previously. The back-to-back monthly gains followed five straight months of falling sales as the particularly brutal winter kept the market on hold.

Actual sales for March, not seasonally adjusted, were up 4.9% from March 2013.
CREA’s home price index rose 5.2% from March 2013, a slight acceleration from February’s 5.1% gain.

CREA’s March report showed sales rose in more than half of the regional housing markets surveyed, led by gains in large urban market in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

The national average price for homes sold in March, not seasonally adjusted, was $401,419, an increase of 6% from the same month last year.

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