When U.S. home prices started to show weakness in early 2007, David Lereah — then the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors — placed much of the blame on the weather. In two March, 2007 reports on home sales and prices, NAR sounded like the National Weather Service, noting a “sudden chill” in January, followed by a February that was the coldest month on record since 1979. While Lereah predicted housing markets would recover in 2007, it turned out that the downturn was just beginning. A similar discussion is now underway in Toronto, where The Star reports that, “Thanks to one of the dingiest Aprils in recent memory, this much-anticipated spring real estate market has been, at least until now, far more soggy than sunny.” Statistics from the Toronto Real Estate Board show listings up by 15 percent as of mid-April, but sales down almost 6 percent from a year ago. The Canadian real estate market is feeling the effects of stricter mortgage rules introduced by regulators in July of 2012 to cool what some perceived to be an overheating market. Queen’s University real estate professor John Andrew assures The Star that weather is always “a very large factor” in the spring. Source: thestar.com.