By Don Fraser
Standard Staff

A robust housing resale market gave Niagara real estate sales a modest boost last year.

Figures released this week by the Niagara Association of Realtors show in 2007 there were 7,069 homes sold through its Multiple Listing Service.

That’s up four per cent from the year before.

The numbers “confirm there was a strong, healthy resale housing market in Niagara during the past year,” said the release.

In 2007, the total value of all types of real estate sold reached almost $1.47 Billion – an increase of seven per cent from the previous year.

“People are still looking for the security of home ownership,” association president Lisa Wale said in an interview. “It’s a good investment.”

As reported last week, preliminary Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. data show that sales of new homes have flagged in most of the region.

Homes starts dropped 11 per cent in St. Catharines-Niagara last year compared to 2006.

Resale homes, however, have taken up the sales slack in census area that does not include Grimsby or West Lincoln.

The association release says overall home sales also slowed somewhat during the last two months of last year, but that’s a normal trend.

“There was good activity in all price reanges, particularly for homes between $120,000 and $200,000,” the release said.

The average sale price for a single-famiy home in Niagara also rose during 2007 and reached $208,669, which is about four per cent higher compared to 2006.

Wale said she is optimistic there will be a balanced real estate market and modest sales growth this year.

“A lot hinges on the economic health of the country,” She said.

“As long as consumer confidence stays healthy, I think we’ll see a reasonably healthy real estate market next year.”

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