A new survey shows Canadian housing prices declined in October compared with September, the latest indication of a cooling trend that has been largely attributed to tighter rules on mortgage lending.
The Teranet-National Bank National composite house price index, released Wednesday, said house prices were up an average of 3.4 per cent across Canada in October compared with a year ago.
However, the index also showed an 11th consecutive month of deceleration in year-to-year price increases and a drop in average prices from September levels.
The composite index was down 0.2 per cent from September — only the third time in 13 years of data that there was a month-to-month decline in October, Teranet said on its website.
The index also declined between September and October 2008, just before a major recession was sparked by a crisis in the U.S. financial industry.
Teranet says Canadian housing prices were down from the month before in seven of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed, including Quebec City, off 0.9 per cent and Victoria, 0.6 per cent. Both markets experienced their third consecutive month of decline.
Ottawa-Gatineau was down 0.4 per cent and Montreal 0.3 per cent, a second consecutive monthly drop for both.
Toronto was down 0.6 per cent on the month, as was Calgary (-0.2 per cent) and Halifax (-0.1 per cent), while Winnipeg was flat.
Prices were up 0.1 per cent in Vancouver, 0.3 per cent in Edmonton and 0.4 per cent in Hamilton.
In Montreal, 12-month inflation has decelerated in 10 of the last 11 months, in Toronto in each of the last six months and in Winnipeg in each of the last four months.
Twelve-month price changes continue to vary widely.
In October, the 12-month gain exceeded the national average by a wide margin in four metropolitan areas: Halifax (8.9 per cent), Hamilton (7.2 per cent), Toronto (6.4 per cent) and Winnipeg (5.9 per cent).
Montreal, with a gain of 3.6 per cent and Calgary, at 3.5 per cent, were close to the national average, while price increases of 2.6 per cent in Quebec City and Edmonton and 2.5 per cent in Ottawa-Gatineau were below the national average.
Vancouver and Victoria both saw price deflation of 1.0 and 1.7 per cent respectively.
Several industry groups have noted a moderation in housing sales since the federal government began tightening mortgage eligibility rules. The most recent change, in July, reduced amortization periods to 25 years from 30.
The index is estimated by tracking observed or registered home prices over time using data collected from public land registries. All dwellings that have been sold at least twice are considered in the calculation.