The industry association also says sales in March were up 1.0 per cent compared with February, but below a recent peak set last August.
CREA says more than half the local markets it tracks saw more sales in March, led by Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto but the number of new listings rose only half a percentage point and the supply of homes for sale remains low.
CREA chief economist Gregory Klump says March was an improvement over the previous two months but "there was little evidence of a flood of pent-up demand being released.”
Klump also said that some markets, such as Toronto and Calgary, are seeing multiple offers per listing.
"This means national sales are being constrained by a lack of supply despite strong demand in some markets, since Greater Toronto and Calgary combined account for a one-quarter of national activity," Klump said.
Nationally, there were 6.3 months of unsold listings at the end of March — down from 6.4 months at the end of March and 6.5 months at the end of January.
The national average price for homes sold in March through CREA members was $401,419, up six per cent from the same month last year.
The association's MLS home price index — which adjusts to compensate for the mix of properties sold — also rose 5.19 per cent year-over-year, up slightly from 5.05 per cent in February.
In a separate report, the Re/Max real estate group says Toronto's housing market is expected to remain hot for the rest of the year, estimating prices will continue to rise about eight per cent this year — in line with the pace set in March.
Re/Max says Vancouver's prices are anticipated to rise by two per cent this year, a slower pace than in March when prices were up 5.4 per cent year-year. In Calgary, Re/Max didn't have a specific price increase for the year, but it said house prices in March increased by five per cent from a year earlier.
In Saskatoon, Re/Max estimates a six per cent increase for the rest of the year, up from the five per cent pace set in March.