TORONTO - December home sales in Toronto fell 19.5 per cent compared with a year ago, but prices were still up, according to the city's real estate association.
The Toronto Real Estate Board said there were 3,690 sales in the Greater Toronto Area last month through the Multiple Listing Service, down from 4,585 in December 2011.
However, the average price rose to $478,789 from $449,566 — an increase of 6.5 per cent from the year before.
Board president Ann Hannah said the number of sales in 2012 was strong from a historic perspective.
"We saw strong year-over-year growth in sales in the first half of the year, but this growth was more than offset by sales declines in the second half," Hannah said in a statement.
"Stricter mortgage lending guidelines resulted in some households postponing their purchase of a home. In the City of Toronto, the dip in sales was compounded by the additional land transfer tax."
The results for Toronto followed a report Thursday that sales in Vancouver were down 31.1 per cent compared with a year ago.
Home sales in Canada have eased in many markets since changes in the borrowing rules by the federal government, aimed at discouraging homebuyers from borrowing too much, kicked in last summer.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions also tightened its lending guidelines.
Last month, the Canadian Real Estate Association said it expected home sales for 2012 to slip 0.5 per cent compared with 2011 to about 456,300, while sales for 2013 are expected to drop two per cent to 447,400.
The number of homes sold in the Greater Toronto Area for all of 2012 totalled 85,731, down four per cent from 89,096 in 2011.
The average price for all of 2012 in the GTA was $497,298, up seven per cent from 2011.