02/17/2015 09:04 EST | Updated 04/19/2015 05:59 EDT

Canadian Home Sales Slip Lower In January, Prices Down Outside Toronto, Vancouver


OTTAWA -- Home sales slipped lower in January for the second month in a row, with a slowdown in Calgary and Edmonton responsible for much of the decline.

The Canadian Real Estate Association says sales through its multiple listing service in January were down 2.0 per cent compared with a year ago.

Compared with December, last month's sales were down 3.1 per cent.

If Calgary and Alberta are removed from the national total, sales activity is up 1.9 per cent from a year ago, CREA says.

However, Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Financial Group, says sales in the rest of the country were "not especially hot either,'' with 15 of the country's 26 largest urban areas posting flat or declining sales.

"Canada's housing market is cooling notably, largely because of the sudden deep chill in the previously hottest cities,'' Porter said in a statement.

"However, there is still plenty of regional variation churning below the surface. We suspect that with borrowing costs still plumbing the depths and many provincial economies holding up, any housing correction will be a specific regional affair.''

The national average price for a home sold in January was $401,143, up 3.1 per cent from a year ago.

CREA says it was the smallest year-over-year increase since April 2013.

Excluding Vancouver and Toronto, the average price was $312,280, down 0.3 per cent compared with a year ago.

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