Photo: James Bombales

After two consecutive sales drops in January and February, industry watchers wondered if March would bring some relief to the rapidly cooling Canadian housing market. And it did — according to data released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association, home sales inched up 1.3 per cent in March.

“Canadian housing markets are likely to remain under-pressure from the recent [new mortgage rules], higher mortgage rates, and in some cases provincial regulation,” writes TD senior economist Michael Dolega, in a recent note. “However, lower-priced markets where affordability is good should generally outperform in the current environment.”

According to Dolega, while the Toronto and Vancouver markets continued to under-perform last month, other local markets stepped up to fill their place.

To learn more about what happened to the market in March, BuzzBuzzNews has rounded up 8 stats that put things in perspective:

1. Activity in March was supported by strong activity in markets like Montreal and Ottawa, where sales were up 5.1 per cent and 22.1 per cent, respectively. This offset a 8.6 per cent drop in Vancouver home sales, and a small 2.1 per cent increase in the GTA.

2. Despite the month-over-month uptick in sales, activity was down 22.7 per cent from last year’s strong March sales numbers.

3. Activity came in at below year-ago levels in more than 80 per cent of all local markets, including every major urban centre except Montreal and Ottawa.

4. The MLS Home Price Index was up 4.6 per cent year-over-year in March, while the national average sale price was down 10.4 per cent year-over-year.

5. “Recent changes to mortgage regulations are fueling demand for lower priced homes while shrinking the pool of qualified buyers for higher-priced homes,” writes CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump. “Given their limited supply, the shift of demand into lower price segments is causing those sales prices to climb.”

6. New listings rose 3.3 per cent month-over-month, bringing the sales-to-new-listings ratio to 53 per cent. A ratio of between 40 and 60 per cent is considered balanced market territory, with readings above and below indicating buyers and sellers markets, respectively.

7. Based on this ratio, more than 60 per cent of all local markets were in balanced territory in March.

8. There were 5.3 months of inventory available at the end of March, unchanged from February. The long term average is 5.2 months.

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