Resales of Canadian homes fell 1.3 per cent in January from December, as sales in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal all declined, a report from the Canadian Real Estate Association showed on Wednesday.
The industry group said actual sales, not seasonally adjusted, were up 1.9 per cent from January 2016, while home prices were up 15.0 per cent from a year ago, according to the group's home price index.
CREA said January's decline put sales only slightly above November levels, when tighter mortgage rules came into effect.
Canada has repeatedly reined in mortgage lending in a bid to cool hot housing markets. While most markets have cooled, double-digit price gains in Toronto have helped buoy the national market.
CREA said even lower sales may not keep a lid on prices, with low inventory of homes in Toronto and parts of British Columbia helping drive price increases in the biggest markets.
"Unless sales activity drops dramatically, the outlook for home prices remains strong in places that face a continuing supply shortage," Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist, said in the report.
The 15-per cent gain in the group's home price index was driven by price increases in 10 of 13 housing markets, though prices in Vancouver have receded from their August 2016 peak after a 15-per cent foreign buyers tax was levied on the city in the month.
The tax was imposed after local residents complained that wealthy foreigners, mostly from mainland China, were driving prices out of reach.
The January report showed sales activity was up from a year earlier in about two-thirds of all local markets, including Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, London and Montreal, but were down significantly in the lower mainland of British Columbia.
Tight supply continues to make it a seller's market, the report showed. The number of newly listed homes fell 6.7 percent in January from December, driving the sales-to-new listings ratio up to 67.7 per cent. A ratio between 40 and 60 per cent is considered a balanced market.
The number of months of inventory was unchanged at 4.6 per cent, CREA said.