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Home sales in Toronto fell 44.6%

Home prices in the Greater Toronto Area appeared to stagnate in January after being in freefall and depressing sales since the spring, the region's real estate board said Friday.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board estimated the home price index at $1,078,900 for last month, down slightly from $1,081,400 in December.

The average home price followed the same pattern with January coming in at $1,038,668, which was little changed from $1,051,031 in December.

The flattening follows several months of steady declines, which caused prices to fall nearly 20% from their spring peak and 16.4% from a year ago.

The drop has been largely attributed to rising interest rates, which tend to move along with mortgage rates and weigh on homebuyer confidence.

With the Bank of Canada raising interest rates eight times in the last year alone, potential sellers have priced their homes out of the market, while buyers have sat waiting for prices to bottom out.

Their waiting pattern has caused January home sales to fall 44.6% from the same month last year. Last month's sales totaled 3,100, down sharply from 5,594 a year earlier, when the market was adopting a frenetic pace and bidding wars were the norm.

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