VANCOUVER, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Canada's nationwide home sales in February recorded a year-on-year decrease of 15.8 percent, while the national average sale price was down 1 percent, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said Friday.
Almost 80 percent of local markets posted year-on-year declines in sales in February, the most notable exception being the south western city of Edmonton, it said.
Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist, said the cooling-off of the housing market resulted from tighter mortgage rules and guidelines coming into force in mid-July last year, with most of the decline in the sales occurring in August. Since then, sales activity has been flying at a lower altitude but has not shown much in the way of further deterioration.
Statistics showed that the recorded number of home sales fell 2.1 percent on a month-on-month basis in February. The decline reversed the small gain recorded in January, leaving sales slightly below levels seen in recent months.
Home sales picked up in just under half of all local markets from January to February, but small declines in Greater Toronto and Montreal combined with larger declines in Greater Vancouver and the central city of Winnipeg tipped the balance nationally to the downside.
According to CREA, the actual national average price for homes sold in February was 368,895 Canadian dollars (about 361,812 U.S. dollars), representing a 1 percent decline from the same month last year.