National house price index falls in November; 10 of 11 markets down from October

TORONTO – Canadian housing prices fell in November compared with October, according to the Teranet-National Bank index — only the fourth time in 13 years that there has been a decline between the two months.

The composite index covering 11 major urban centres stood at 154.02 last month, down 0.4 per cent from October, as 10 of 11 local markets tracked by the Teranet land registry system dropped.

The only market showing a higher reading last month was Calgary.

Although the index was up 3.4 per cent from November 2011, the rate of year-to-year increases has slowed in recent months.

It was the second month-to-month decrease in a row for Toronto and Halifax, the third consecutive for Montreal and Ottawa, and the fourth for Quebec and Victoria.

The Canadian residential real-estate has slowed in recent months, a move many observers have attributed to a change in mortgage rules that among other things have made it more difficult for first-time buyers.

Other factors that have played a role include high levels of personal debt, uncertainty about the strength of the Canadian economy, and the rapid increase in housing prices over the past few years in many cities.

The index uses prices in June 2005 as a base of 100, so that November’s national reading of 154 indicates prices are 54 per cent higher since then.

“In Montreal, 12-month inflation has decelerated in 11 of the last 12 months, in Toronto in each of the last seven months, in Winnipeg in each of the last two months, in Ottawa-Gatineau in eight of the last 10 months,” the Teranet-National Bank analysis says.

Five cities saw index rise more than the national composite compared with a year ago: Halifax (140.92, up 7.3 per cent from November 2011), Hamilton (139.75, 7.2 per cent), Toronto (147.33, 6.3 per cent), Calgary (162.61, 5.7 per cent) and Winnipeg (188.6, 5.2 per cent).

Only two cities showed declines compared with a year ago: Victoria (138.2, down 1.7 per cent) and Vancouver (167.51, down 1.4 per cent).

Four cities showed year-over-year price increases below the national mark: Montreal (148.45, up 2.8 per cent), Quebec (170.14, up 2.7 per cent), Ottawa (140.75, up 2.2 per cent), and Edmonton (166.28, up 1.6 per cent).