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Real estate sales are down 14 per cent over last year, in part due to the winter weather. (CBC)

Extreme winter weather is one of the factors that pushed down the number of home sales on P.E.I. in the early months of 2014, says the head of the P.E.I. Real Estate Association.

Sales for January and February were down 14 per cent over last year.

"I think the weather was a major factor. There were many storm days and people just don't get that motivated to go out looking," said Wayne Ellis, the association's newly-elected president.

"The other factor is that, you know, we do have a lot of properties on the market and with interest rates the way they are, there doesn't seem any big rush to buy because there's no indication that interest rates are going to climb anytime soon."

Ellis says the number of houses listed for sale has increased, in part because of Islanders leaving to work in other provinces.

Those listings are also taking longer to sell, said Ellis

He expects the market to pick up when the weather improves, he said.

The Canadian Real Estate Association is forecasting the number of home sales on PEI to stay relatively flat this year, increasing 0.7 per cent, after a drop of almost 12 per cent in 2013.