A real estate sold sign is shown outside a house in Vancouver, Tuesday, Jan.3, 2017. The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales climbed 2.2 per in December compared with November as they recovered from a dip following the introduction of new mortgage rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Strict mortgage rules slow B.C. home sales

BC Real Estate Association says sales dropped nearly six per cent last month

February was a slow month for B.C. real estate, with sales dropping nearly six per cent compared to the same month last year.

In a new release Wednesday, the BC Real Estate Association said despite housing prices being up 8.8 per cent, sales were down 5.7 per cent.

More stringent mortgage qualification rules for conventional borrowers are dampening housing demand in the province,” said chief economist Cameron Muir.

“Since the new rules came into effect, B.C. home sales have fallen more than 26 per cent, on a seasonally adjusted basis.”

The average residential home price across the province was $748,327.

The new rules mean all borrowers must qualify for a mortgage based on either the five-year benchmark rate or their lender’s actual rate plus two per cent, whichever is higher.

The change applies to all mortgages, new or renewed, even if the down payment exceeds 20 per cent.


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