The Canadian Real Estate Association represents 125,000 Realtors across the country stated that sales were higher in January than in December, but still below the level seen in January 2018 — This was the month that CREA stated was historically bad for the housing market because of new stress-test rules that had just been implemented.
- Mortgage growth will decrease or stay flat this year
The rules are targeted at making it harder to get a mortgage, It really put a damper on the housing market, CREA says, causing a sales slump that persists.
"Homebuyers are still adapting to tightened mortgage regulations brought in last year," CREA president Barb Sukkau said.
CREA said 23,968 properties were sold through the Multiple Listing Service in January, down from 24,977 a year earlier.
- Housing affordability to worsen this year even as market cools
Prices have also dropped in many markets, although CREA said the average price figure can be misleading because expensive markets in Toronto and Vancouver skew it higher than it would be otherwise.
The group said a better gauge of the market is something it calls the Home Price Index, a number it calculates by adjusting for the size of different housing markets and types of homes.
That figure has risen by 0.8 per cent in the past year, the smallest it has been since last summer.
- Average Canadian house cost $472K in December, down 4.9% in 2018
But even that flat figure disguises some wild swings across the country.
In the Greater Vancouver, the HPI has fallen by almost five per cent in the past year, and it's down by almost as much in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Saskatoon.
Prices have increased by more than nine per cent in the past year on Vancouver Island, meanwhile, and by seven per cent in Ottawa, Guelph, Ont., and the Niagara Region area.