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Canadian home sales, listings slump in January with arrival of new mortgage rules

Canadian home sales, listings slump in January with arrival of new mortgage rules
From CBC - February 15, 2018

Canadian home sales dropped sharply in January to their lowest monthly level in three years amid a retreat in listings as new mortgage rules came into place, according to a new report from a national real estate group.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said Thursday that home sales through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined by 14.5 per cent fromDecemberto January this year.

December sales hit the highest monthly level on record, citing a "pull-through" of transactions as buyers rushed to get deals done in advance of the new mortgage rules kicking in on Jan. 1, saidCREA.

On a year-over-year basis, national sales droppedby 2.4 per cent in January.

CREA saidactivity last monthwas down in three-quarters of all local markets across the country, including most major urban centres.

The group said many of the biggest sales declineswere seen in Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe markets, where sales rose late last year following the announcement of the tighter mortgage rules.

Conversely, sales were up year over yearinB.C.'s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, the Okanagan Region, Edmonton, Montreal, Greater Moncton and Halifax-Dartmouth.

CREAalso reportedthe number of newly listed homes plunged 21.6 per centto reach the lowest level since the spring of 2009.

The group said new housing supply dropped in about 85 per centof all local markets, led by a decline in the Greater Toronto Area.

"The piling on of yet more mortgage rule changes that took effect starting New Year's Day has created homebuyer uncertainty and confusion,"said CREApresident Andrew Peck in a statement.

'Soft landing'

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