The average price of  a Canadian home increased by more than eight per cent in the 12 months up to October and is now worth $454,976, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Monday.

But as has been the case for a while, the national average is being skewed higher by red hot markets in Toronto and Vancouver. If those two cities are stripped out, the average house sold for $339,059 and the year-over-year gain is reduced to 2.5 per cent.

Outside of prices, the volume of sales was also up. It was the second-busiest October for home sales since 2009, the real estate group said.

"Single detached homes continue to be in short supply while demand for them remains strong in a number of active and populous housing markets in British Columbia and Ontario," is how CREA's chief economist Gregory Klump put it.

Wide regional differences

Beneath the headline, however, many housing market watchers see weakness.

Sales in places heavily depending on the energy sector are "incredibly weak," TD Bank economist Diana Petramala said, with sales down 36.2 per cent year-over-year in Calgary, 16.3 per cent in Edmonton, 12.3 per cent in Regina and 21.8 per cent in Saskatoon.

"Home prices have also started to tumble in these markets, and were down the most in Calgary (down by 4.4 per cent) and Regina (down by 4.6 per cent)," Petramala said.

Indeed, despite the strong headline gain caused by B.C. and Ontario, five provinces saw house prices decline on an annual basis: 

  • Quebec
  • Alberta
  • Saskatchewan
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Newfoundland and Labrador