MONTREAL - The housing market in the Greater Montreal area slowed significantly in the month of August compared to the same period a year earlier.

Overall, there were 2,397 real estate properties sold over the month, a drop of 16 per cent compared to last year, the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board reports.

However, the board's chairman says it is too early to see those results as an indicator of a widespread trend in the area.

"Summer is always a slower period in the resale market, but last year the market was unusually active seeing as were coming out of a recession," said board chairman Patrick Juaneda. "So it's too early to talk about a slowing market, especially seeing as sales are still up by eight per cent since the beginning of the year. It will be interesting to see how the market behaves in the fall, which is usually a more active period."

Multiplex properties – ranging from two to five lodgings – saw the biggest dip with a drop of 22 per cent, while single-family homes dropped 16 per cent and condominium sales went down 11 per cent.

The North Shore was the region least affected by the downward trend in sales, with a drop of only 11 per cent from last year, while the South Shore, Laval and Vaudreuil-Soulanges all saw decreases hovering around 18 per cent. For Montreal Island, the drop was 16 per cent compared to August, 2009.

Prices for new real estate properties continued to rise, with the average price of a single-family home increasing seven per cent to $254,000, an average condominium went up nine per cent to $215,000 and an average multiplex rose 14 per cent to $395,000.

Conversely, it is taking less time for sellers to find buyers for their properties, with the average amount of time a property is on the market falling across the board. The average single-family home in the area sold in August was on the market for 69 days, or 10 fewer days than in 2009. Condominiums sold in an average of 79 days, a drop of 11 days.

Multiplexes had the most drastic change, falling from an average of 91 days on the market last year to 62 this year.

"The Montreal region's real estate market is currently a sellers market," Juaneda said. "It takes very little time to sell a property and the number of properties available on the market dropped for a 13th consecutive month in August, leaving fewer choices for buyers. Seeing as the market is tightening, the price of properties continued to rise in August."