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An encouraging pickup in home sales in Toronto last month paled in comparison to massive increases observed elsewhere in southern Ontario and the rest of the province.

As Toronto home sales increased a steady 3.7 percent in January compared to the previous month, a number of other Ontario markets saw activity surge in the double digits, a new report notes.

“Several [real estate] boards located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) reported robust sales growth in January,” writes Edgard Navarrete, a regional economist with Central 1 Credit Union, in an Ontario Economic Briefing.

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Monthly says in Kingston ramped up by 39.1 percent, while the number of homes changing hands in Ottawa-Carleton increased 36.3 percent. Meantime, Cambridge sales were up 30.2 percent, and Oakville-Milton experienced an 18-percent spurt that was nearly matched by Kitchener-Waterloo and London-St. Thomas, both of which witnessed gains of roughly 16.5 percent. Brantford recorded an increase of 13.7 percent.

Navarrete has some thoughts on the swings, which can be volatile, especially from month to month in smaller markets.

“With only one month of data for 2019 available, it is too early to say if homebuyers have adapted to the new mortgage rules by changing what type of home, they purchase,” he explains.

A year ago, federal policymakers tightened the rules governing uninsured mortgages. As a result, many prospective homebuyers had a tougher time qualifying for mortgages, even if they put forward a 20-percent downpayment.

With that in mind, Navarrete continues: “However, it is encouraging to see sales come back even in some of the higher priced regions of the province.”

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