Residential MLS home sales increased by 2.1 per cent in February to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 92,250 units.
This marked a seventh straight monthly increase in provincial activity. Gains were driven by higher sales in the real estate board areas spanning Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford/ Mission, which observed a 4.9 per cent increase. Combined sales in the rest of the province fell 3.2 per cent, despite a 12 per cent increase in sales in the Kamloops region.
Increases in Lower Mainland markets were generally in line with expectations as some buyers likely moved up purchase dates to qualify for longer 35-year amortization products which will be effectively eliminated by the more restrictive mortgage insurance rules that came into effect on March 18. The shortening of the maximum amortization period to 30 years likely had a more significant impact in higher-priced markets and on younger and first-time buyers who tend to be constrained by lower incomes or lack of home equity wealth.
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