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Canadian home sales rose for the first time in six months in September with a 0.9% gain led by smaller cities in a sign of a continued migration amid the pandemic, and the average price climbed 14% from a year earlier.

Sales were 18% lower than a year earlier, reflecting a spring swoon as a lack of listings for sale and record price pressures discouraged some buyers. September sales are still the second-highest for that month on record, behind only the same month last year, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported Friday. The sales to new listings rate of 75% remains above the typical rate of 55%.

"The issue is that demand/supply conditions are stabilizing in a place that very few people are happy about. There is still a lot of demand chasing an increasingly scarce number of listings, so this market remains very challenging," CREA Chair Cliff Stevenson said in the report.