housing real estate for sale sign

If Toronto and Vancouver are stripped out, the average Canadian home was worth $302,477 in November. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

The average price of a Canadian home was $456,186 in November, a 10.2 per cent increase compared to the same month a year earlier.

The Canadian Real Estate Association also noted Tuesday that stripping out the expensive and large markets of Toronto and Vancouver, the average price would have been $338,969 — a 3.4 per cent gain compared to November 2014.

The number of homes sold also increased, by 1.8 per cent from October's level, to reach its highest monthly level in six years. On an annualized basis, sales were almost 11 per cent higher last month than they were in the same month a year ago.

Home sales normally start the year slow before peaking in the spring and summer when everyone is in a buying mood, and then cool down again to end the year.

But that's not happening this year, as strong sales are continuing. Recent government changes to mortgage rules that will force homeowners of properties valued at more than $500,000 to have larger down payments are likely to keep sales strong as some buyers may rush to get in under the wire, CREA's president said.

"Recently announced changes to mortgage regulations will likely boost sales activity in the short term, as buyers jump off the fence to beat the changes before they take effect next year," Pauline Aunger said. "Even so, some housing markets stand to be affected by the changes more than others."

Reading between the lines, TD Bank said that's CREA's way of saying new rules aimed at cooling hot markets in Toronto and Vancouver "may also have unintended consequences in markets that are already cooling (Calgary and Edmonton)," economist Diana Petramala said.

"Our view is similar to that of CREA," she said. "The new changes may create some volatility in the market over the near term. But, past changes to insured mortgage qualifying rules have proven to be temporary in nature, with the market adjusting within a four to six quarter period. And, even then, the impact is expected to be modest."

BMO economist Doug Porter noted that while the numbers were solid across the country, the "big two" markets of Toronto and Vancouver are skewing sales and prices skyward, masking some weakness in oil-dependent parts of the country.

"Of the 25 reporting cities, 11 recorded double-digit gains, with fully eight of those in B.C. and Ontario alone," he said. "However, there were also nine cities that saw outright sales declines, seven of which were in Alberta, Saskatchewan or Quebec."