The slow down in the Canadian housing market seen late in 2017 is likely to get worse before it improves according to RBC Economics.

In his latest housing report senior economist Robert Hogue says that the market is likely to soften further as the pool of buyers who were pre-approved for a mortgage under the old rules runs out.

He notes there could be a “bumpy ride” ahead in the coming months as the spring buying season kicks in following the traditionally slow start to the year.

However, Hogue’s outlook is for interest rates and affordability to maintain downward pressure on the Canadian resale housing market with price increases set to be restrained “substantially.”

The outlook calls for resales of 500,300 units in 2018 (down from 514,400 in 2017) and for price rises to slow from 11.1% in 2017 to just 2.3% nationwide in 2018.

For January, the national home price index gained 7.7% year-over-year, slowing from the 9.2% annual rise in December.

Resales were down sharply in Toronto (-26.6%) and Vancouver (-10.5%) but less evident in Montreal (-4%).

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