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Canada Home Buyers Back in Market in March After Winter

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian existing home sales rose at their fastest pace in seven months in March, led by transactions in Alberta, as buyers returned to the market following a winter slowdown.

Sales increased 1.0 percent in March from the previous month, the Canadian Real Estate Association said in a statement today. The number of homes sold jumped 7.3 percent in Calgary and rose 8.8 percent in Edmonton, Alberta’ capital.

The data suggest Canada’s real estate market is recovering from the impact of one of the harshest winters in decades, which had compounded a broader weakening in the industry. The winter in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, was the coldest since 1976-77, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“There’s little doubt that winter’s icy grip prompted many potential home buyers to put off house hunting,” Gregory Klump, the Ottawa-based realtor group’s chief economist, said in a statement.

The real estate group had reported four straight months of declines between October and January, before the market began picking up in February.

From a year earlier, sales in March rose 4.9 percent, the group said. The average price of a home sold in March fell 1.4 percent from February to C$394,848 ($359,018).

While existing home sales increased, new home construction has seen a slowdown. Housing starts dropped 18 percent in March to the lowest annual pace since the 2009 recession, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. said April 8.

To contact the reporters on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.net; Greg Quinn in Ottawa at gquinn1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Badertscher at pbadertscher@bloomberg.net Chris Fournier

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