January puts the brakes on hot housing market

That slowdown, virtually across the breadth and scope of Canada, resulted in a seasonally-adjusted fall of 4.5% from December to January. Year-over-year comparisons are more favourable, with actual activity coming in 4.0% above January 2011 levels.

“The national housing market is stabilizing and remains well balanced,” said Gary Morse, CREA’s President. “That said, forecasts for economic and job growth going forward vary widely for different parts of the country, suggesting a possible continuation of a softening trend in some markets, as well as the potential that demand will pick up based on strong fundamentals in others.”

That would represent a departure from January’s activity, which nationally saw the number of newly listed homes edged down 1.4% from December to January.

Last month, in fact, represents the first monthly decline in national activity since August 2011 and the biggest monthly decline since July 2010.  It also reverses a string of monthly increases over the closing months of last year, and effectively returned national activity to where it stood in the fall of 2011.

Still, with sales down by more than new listings, argues CREA, the national market shifted further into balanced territory.

That balance hasn’t yet come to the sale price end of the market.

Activity was down in over half of all local markets in January from the previous month. Led by declines in Greater Toronto and Montréal, demand also softened in a number of other major urban centres including the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Greater Vancouver.

The national average home price rose just under 2% year-over-year in January.

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