Home sales hit record in March but Vancouver, Toronto slow down

Excluding Canada's two most expensive real estate markets, the national average price would be $366,950

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TORONTO — A record number of homes across the country were sold in March, although the Vancouver and Toronto markets saw declines from the previous month, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Friday.

The Ottawa-based group said about 60 per cent of all local markets showed an increase in transactions from February, including Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal and Victoria.

But sales in the Toronto area were down 1.8 per cent from February. The situation was slightly similar in Vancouver, where sales fell a more modest 0.3 per cent, but that contrasted with a national increase of 1.5 per cent.

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March was the first full month where new federal rules intended to cool overheated markets were in effect. Under the changes, anyone buying a home that costs between $500,000 and $1 million face a minimum down payment of 10 per cent.

The changes were aimed at slowing the torrid rise in prices in the red-hot markets of Toronto and Vancouver without hurting sales in other markets.

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The national average price for homes sold through CREA members was $508,567, up 15.7 per cent from a year earlier _ with a disproportionate impact from the Toronto and Vancouver area.

Excluding Canada’s two most expensive real estate markets, the national average price would be $366,950, up 10.4 per cent from March 2015.

The number of properties available for purchase fell 1.4 per cent in March compared with February — mostly because of the Greater Toronto Area and nearby Hamilton-Burlington.

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