Canada home sales moderate in July

Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:29am EDT
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Sales of existing homes in Canada steadied in July from June and prices were down 2 percent on average from a year earlier, the Canadian Real Estate Association said on Wednesday, another sign that a long real estate boom is starting to slow.

The industry group for Canadian real estate agents said July sales were off 0.01 percent from June, and the number of homes newly listed for sale dropped 3.3 percent. Sales were up 3.3 percent from a year earlier.

CREA said the local markets that it tracks across the country were about evenly split between those that saw gains from June and those that saw declines.

The data showed sales and prices cooling in Toronto and Vancouver, two of the country's hottest markets.

Vancouver prices were down 12.2 percent year-on-year.

The latest statistics were the first since the government tightened mortgage rules last month in an effort to rein in the market.

"Some first-time home buyers may have difficulty qualifying for mortgage financing due to shortened amortization periods included in recent changes to mortgage regulations," said Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist.

"As the lynchpin of the housing market, lower first-time buying activity will have knock-on effects over the rest of the market. It will likely take more time for move-up buyers to sell their current home."   Continued...