The national average price for homes rose 8.8 per cent year-over-year in February, but realtors suggest prices could decline once stricter mortgage rules come into effect Friday.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said the national average home price rose to $365,192 last month, but that includes multimillion-dollar sales in Vancouver that skewed the average.

With Vancouver removed from the equation, the increase is 3.4 per cent.

About 41,283 homes were sold last month across the country on CREA’s Multiple Listing Services, down from the 42,230 sold in January.

The number of new listings was up 1.5 per cent in February, as higher demand and stable prices lured sellers into listing their homes.