The year of 2018 has been a little slow for Canadian housing markets. However, the new year for the 2019 housing market could come with its own set of curve balls.

Throughout the past 12 months, the market was impacted most via the new mortgage stress tests as home buyers in need of mortgages were saddled with higher rates than the contracted mortgage rate. The stress test was mandated as a means to assess the borrower’s aptitude to service mortgage debt when faced with a sudden interest rate hike.

In order to sidestep these rigid rules, buyers strategically bought homes in 2017. The Canadian Real Estate Association has seasonal data showing over 46,000 home transactions throughout the nation last December and a 14% drop the next month in January 2018.

The stringent mortgage regulations also took their toll on regional housing with the GTA displaying slower sales rates than the previous two years. As of the second quarter of 2017, Canada-wide inflation-adjusted housing prices have been flat. Those numbers are influenced by the April 2017 housing market halt caused after Ontario began enforcing new taxes on forum home buyers.

There’s likely going to be an inevitable status quo in the Canadian housing market particularly after an uninspiring 2018—barring a major surprise in the economy. There could be minor growth in 2019 prices and sales but nothing major.

Housing prices will move adjacent to the economic fundamentals, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). In short, markets will be in line with stable growth in population, incomes, and jobs.

The 2019 housing market , there will likely be under 500,000 sales completed via the Multiple Listing Service, believes the CMHC. This will parallel the slower sales of 2017 but considerably lower than 2016s robust market activity.

CMHC believes there will be an average housing price of under $525,000 in 2019 but these numbers will vary region-to-region. Ontario urban housing markets will see a bit more activity after a rough 2018 due to project job growth and in-migration.

British Columbia’s housing markets are projected to moderate even more in line with an economic and demographic slowdown. Vancouver housing prices have slowed down since 2016 after B.C. mandated new transaction taxes on foreign home buyers.

35% fewer homes were bought and sold in Vancouver in October 2018 compared to the same month the year before, as shown in the RBC Economic Research.

While it’s a common belief that the Prairies’ housing markets are probably going to further moderate due to the provinces living and dying on fossil fuels and similar industries, the CMHC sees the housing markets improving in these areas.

Resales were down by 9% in Calgary in October 2018 compared to October 2017, as shown by RBC data. Calgary’s 2018 composite housing price index also dropped, showing a 2.6% decline while no other housing market showed any decrease in their composite price index in October.

Montreal should see a boost from an increase in interest from foreign buyers in 2019 because the city hasn’t imposed foreign-buyer taxes—unlike Toronto and Vancouver. In fact, Montreal may garnet transactions that would have otherwise occurred in Toronto or Vancouver due to the tax advantage. It’s believed by the CMHC that Montreal will also see a decline in rental vacancy rates due to higher demand from in-migration and a more positive economic landscape.

It’s further anticipated by the CMHC that sales and prices of existing Nova Scotia home will appreciate in the 2019 housing market. The rest of Atlantic Canada will likely face challenges since there is not enough sustained demographic growth—particularly in urban housing markets.

There is some cautious optimism for the nation’s 2019 housing market. It’s still important to remain wary of the housing market concerns in the US.

Nobel Laureate in Economics, Robert Shiller, penned an article in the New York Times illustrating that there’s a ceiling for increased-pricing on existing homes. The fast-growing prices of single-family homes in the US will likely see a vast decrease in the near future.

The last housing market crash in the US didn’t hurt the Canadian housing markets and in a post-NAFTA landscape Canada doesn’t rely on the U.S. for trade, so the housing market south of the border is even less of a worry.

Canada can breathe easy about the housing market but should do so with an air of caution.