New figures this week threw more fuel on the fire of Canada's national obsession — home prices. The Canadian Real Estate Association said Monday the average price of a Canadian home was 4 per cent higher in August than it was a year ago.

But there were a few dark clouds to be wary of behind the sunny-sounding price gains. The number of sales fell 8.9 per cent across the country, a trend that has to weigh on prices eventually.

The real estate market is also local, so experts question the value of a "national average" to begin with. And every day seems to bring a new data set about the issue, and often one day's headline contradicts the last.

With so much information, what's a homeowner or would-be home buyer to do?

On Wednesday, The National's Bottom Line panel took a look at Canada's housing market from all perspectives.

CAW economist Jim Stanford, former bank economist Patty Croft, personal finance writer Preet Bannerjee and CBC's own Amanda Lang chatted with Peter Mansbridge recently in a wide-ranging discussion on Canada's housing market, some of the pitfalls it's facing and some of the opportunities it may present.

Click the player above to watch their discussion or click here to watch it in a new window.