National home sales activity edged up on a month-over-month basis in January 2013, says the Canadian Real Estate Association.

It adds sales activity has held fairly steady after gearing down last August in the wake of tightened mortgage lending rules.

Read: Canadian housing to hold steady in 2013

Highlights of the CREA data includes:

  • National home sales rose 1.3% from December to January.
  • Actual activity—not seasonally adjusted—came in 5.2% below January 2012 levels.
  • The number of newly listed homes rose 1.6% from December to January.
  • The Canadian housing market remains balanced.
  • National average sale price rose 2% year-over-year in January.
  • The MLS HPI rose 3.1% in January, the smallest gain since April 2011.

Home sales picked up in half of all local markets. Toronto and Vancouver posted monthly sales increases of 5.6% and 4.7% respectively, and sales in Edmonton climbed 10% over December 2012.

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Activity gains were partially offset, however, by softer sales in Ottawa, the Fraser Valley, Montreal, Regina, London and St. Thomas, and Calgary.

“There is little new to report about national sales activity, which continues to hold fairly steady at the lower levels first reached when mortgage rules were tightened in mid-2012,” says CREA president Wayne Moen. “[But] things are becoming more interesting among local markets.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity came in 5.2 per cent below levels reported in January 2012. About two-thirds of local markets posted year-over-year declines in sales activity in January. Notable exceptions include Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Windsor-Essex, and Guelph.

“If national sales activity remains near the levels we’ve been seeing since last August, then year-over-year comparisons will begin fading after the crucial spring buying season,” adds Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

“Until then, the focus may remain on how sales were stronger in the first half of last year, compared to lower but stable national activity since then.”

Read: Correction in store for Canadian housing

Additionally, year-over-year price gains decelerated for one-storey single-family homes and two-storey, single-family homes. By contrast, price growth held steady for apartment units and picked up in the townhouse segment.

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