VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The housing market continues to cool — especially in BC — according to an industry group.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, nationwide home sales were down 8.9 per cent in August from a year earlier and 5.8 per cent from July. As a result, the group has lowered its sales and price forecasts for the rest of this year and 2013.

CREA says that since its last forecast “mortgage regulations were tightened further, activity in Ontario softened, and the slowdown of sales activity in British Columbia deepened.”

It says the lowered price outlook is “reflecting an expected decrease in Ontario’s and British Columbia’s provincial sales as a proportion of national activity.”

A point-three per cent increase in the national home price turns into a 3.3 per cent gain when Vancouver is excluded, as our market skews the overall figure lower after skewing it higher a year ago.

The CREA says an adjusted measure of local home prices fell half a point in August, its first decline in almost three years.

“The figures are the first clear indication that the recent changes to mortgage regulations aimed at cooling the market are working as intended,” says CREA chief economist Gregory Klump.

If you decided against buying a home in the Vancouver area this summer, you’ve got plenty of company.

Sales of existing homes in our area plunged 31 per cent in August compared to a year earlier, as tighter mortgage rules took hold.

A total of 1,670 resales were recorded, down from 2,419 a year earlier. Resales were also down 9.3 per cent from the previous month.

The year-over-year price drop was 6.9 per cent to an average of $725,000. Month over month there was a gain of 3 per cent.