OTTAWA - The Canadian Real Estate Association has dramatically increased its forecast for sales of existing homes this year, to about where they stood in 2008 before the recession took hold.

The real estate body says the revision was based on a much stronger-than-expected second quarter in the home resales market, which it says climbed throughout the spring and into July.

Home resales are now expected to total 432,600 units this year, the association says, only 0.4 per cent less than 2008.

Previously, the expectation was that sales would plunge 14.7 per cent this year.

As well, the average sale price of homes is expected to increase 1.5 per cent this year.

British Columbia is projected to post the biggest increase with 72,500 units sold, 5.2 per cent higher than last year.

The drop-off in sales in other western provinces have been revised downward.

Ontario is the other province expected to top last year, with a 0.5 per cent increase.

Association president Dale Ripplinger says the difference in the resale housing market now, compared to the beginning of the year, was like night and day, especially in the West.

The improved expectations this year may dampen sales in 2010, however.

The association expects resales to increase 5.3 per cent next year, a lower rebound than previously thought, largely because some home buyers will have moved up their purchasing plans.

Latest From ...