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Residential Market Commentary - The slide continues

We are now through the second January under the tougher, federal B-20 mortgage qualification rules and the housing market continues to cool.

The latest figures posted by the Canadian Real Estate Association show sales dipped 4.0% compared to a year ago, although sales climbed 3.6% month-over-month compared to December.

The national average price for a home dropped 5.5% compared to January 2018. It now stands at a little less than $455,000 for all types of housing. That number is, of course, heavily skewed by the high prices in Toronto and Vancouver. When those two markets are factored out the average price falls to about $360,000.

CREA says homebuyers are still adapting to the stricter mortgage rules. The association’s Chief Economist, Gregory Klump, cautions that the B-20 rules and previous tightening will have an effect on economic growth this year.

The number of homes that went on the market in January edged up 1.0% from December. When than modest increase is combined with the month-over-month rise in sales the ratio of new listings to sales tightened to 56.7%, from 55.3% in December. CREA says that falls within the long-term average and that more than half of all the markets it monitors are considered balanced.