Home prices in Canada declined by 0.3% in November versus October, according to the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index published on Friday. It was the first month to post a fall in one year.
Prices were down in November over the previous month in eight of 11 major centres surveyed, ranging from the decline of 1.6 per cent in Halifax to 0.2 per cent in Calgary, according to the figures released Friday.
While Toronto prices were down 0.3 per cent during that period, the market here has traditionally seen zero growth in that month going right back to 1999, said National Bank of Canada senior economist Marc Pinsonneault.
The slight downturn is seen as more seasonal than worrisome, he said in an interview.
“Toronto is not, in our view, a market that is weak. Rather it’s tight (with not enough supply to mean demand), except in the highrise condo sector.”
Overall, the national composite house price index for Toronto was up 7.3 per cent year over year, meaning price growth here continued to outpace the national average price growth of 5.2 per cent, the figures showed.
Calgary led the way for price gains for November year over year, up 9.2 per cent, although the calculations were done before the impact of slumping oil prices started working their way into the stock market and the western economy.
Year over year prices were also up in Hamilton (7 per cent), Edmonton (6.2 per cent) and Vancouver (5.9 per cent).
Gains were far more moderate in Winnipeg (1.5 per cent), Victoria (1.4 per cent) and Montreal (0.6 per cent). Prices were actually down year over year in Ottawa-Gatineau (down 0.2 per cent), Quebec City (down 0.3 per cent) and Halifax (down 1.8 per cent).
National home sales remain strong, although better in some parts of the country than others, buoyed largely by historically low interest rates, according to the report. About 40,000 houses a month changed hands across the country in each of the last six months ending in October.