Canadian existing home sales fell 1.7 percent in November from the previous month, a realtor group said, led by Toronto’s weakening housing market.
Sales were down 11.9 percent from a year earlier, the Canadian Real Estate Association said in an e-mailed statement. The number of homes sold in Toronto, the country’s biggest housing market, fell 4.4 percent in November from October and 18.3 percent from a year earlier.
The country’s housing market is cooling after policy makers took measures to tighten mortgage lending amid concern that a bubble was building in some markets. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tightened rules on government-insured mortgages in July for the fourth time in four years, while the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, the country’s banking regulator, introduced tougher standards for mortgage lenders.
“National sales activity lacks the momentum it had a year ago,” Gregory Klump, chief executive of the Ottawa-based realtor group, said in the statement. “Interest rates have remained low and the economic backdrop has remained supportive for housing activity, so that should leave little doubt that recent changes to mortgage regulations are responsible for having cooled activity.”
The average national price for existing homes fell 0.8 percent in November from October and from the same month a year earlier.
The real estate group today also cut its forecast for resales in 2012 and 2013. It projects 456,300 homes will be sold this year, down from 466,900 projected in September, and said 447,400 units will be sold next year, down from the earlier forecast of 457,800.
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