Markets & Economy

Canadian home sales edge up in March

Tightened lending rules blamed for annual decline

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Home sales in Canada rose modestly from February to March, but remained far below levels seen a year ago before regulators tightened lending rules. Seasonally adjusted national home sales rose 2.4 percent from February to March, but were down 15.3 percent from a year ago, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported today. Source: CREA CREA said the Canadian real estate market continues to feel the effects of stricter mortgage rules introduced by regulators in July of 2012 to cool what some perceived to be an overheating market. The period for a mortgage loan was reduced from 30 to 25 years; maximum refinancing amounts were changed to 80 percent of loan-to-value; a borrower's gross debt service ratio and total debt service ratio were limited to 39 percent and 44 percent; and the availability of government-backed insured mortgages was restricted to homes with a purchase price of less than $1 million. "Analysis will likely continue to focus on how sales remain...