Photo: James Bombales

After January’s steep sales drop, industry watchers waited to see how the Canadian housing market would fare in February. The answer? Not bad, but not great: according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales fell another 6.5 per cent month-over-month in February.

“Sales activity is down in many, but not all, housing markets compared to the end of last year,” writes CREA president Andrew Peck.

According to Peck, the continued decline is a sign that the market will take a few more months to adjust to the new mortgage stress test for uninsured buyers, and rising interest rates.

For a closer look at February’s sales dip, BuzzBuzzNews has rounded up 8 stats that paint a bigger picture:

1. While national home sales were down 6.5 per cent month-over-month in February, actual activity was down 16.9 per cent year-over-year.

2. This is the second monthly decline since December 2017, and the lowest reading in nearly five years. Sales were down in almost three-quarters of all local housing markets.

3. “The drop off in sales following the record-breaking peak late last year confirms that many homebuyers moved purchase decisions forward late last year before tighter mortgage rules took effect in January,” writes CREA chief economist Gregory Klump, in a statement. “Momentum for home sales activity going into the second quarter is also likely to be weighed down by housing market uncertainty in British Columbia, where new housing policies were introduced towards the end of February.”

4. Listings were up slightly in February, rising 8.1 per cent month-over-month after a plunge of 20 per cent in January. Still, national listings are still lower than monthly levels recorded in every month last year except January.

5. New supply was up in three-quarters of local markets, led by BC’s Lower Mainland, the GTA, Ottawa and Montreal. The increase brought the markets closer to balanced territory, though they remained sellers markets.

6. The national sales-to-new-listings ratio fell to 55 per cent from 63.7 per cent in January. A ratio of between 40 and 60 per cent is considered balanced territory, with readings above and below indicating sellers and buyers markets, respectively.

7. The Aggregate Composite MLS Home Price Index rose 6.9 per cent year-over-year in February, marking the 10th consecutive deceleration in year-over-year gains. It is the smallest increase since October 2015.

8. The national average price for a home in February was $494,000, down 5 per cent year-over-year. The average is skewed heavily by the GTA and GVA. Without those two markets, the average price would be $382,000.

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