Home sales down 15.9% in March

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Local home sales in March fell to the lowest level since 2009, even as average prices closed in on an all-time high, according to statistics released Thursday.

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,167 homes last month, a decrease of 15.9 per cent from the 1,388 homes that changed hands a year earlier.

However a local official said the drop-off was not entirely unexpected.

“The market was forecasted to slow down in 2013 as a result of recent mortgage changes, and indeed it has,” said Tim Lee, the president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, in a statement. The OREB points to government layoffs as one reason for the slowdown.

Condominium sales did not decrease as sharply as the broader market, falling 8.3 per cent to 238 transactions.

Two-storey homes took the greatest drop in sales, falling 23.1 per cent to 530 properties.

The drop-off in sales sales did not pull down the average home price. Average prices increased one per cent year over year to $358,102.

That’s just shy of the highest average resale price in Ottawa, which was recorded last April at $364,077.