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 from December to 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, said CREA.
On a year-over-year basis, national sales dropped by 2.4 per cent in January.
CREA said activity last month was down in three-quarters of all local markets across the country, including most major urban centres.
The group said many of the biggest sales declines were 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 year in B.C.'s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, the Okanagan Region, Edmonton, Montreal, Greater Moncton and Halifax-Dartmouth.