The average sale price of a house in Nova Scotia dropped by 3.1 per cent from November 2012 to January 2013 and total sales dropped 20.9 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) showed declines in sales and prices in Yarmouth, South Shore and the Annapolis Valley.

The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors said those drops could have been related to economic loss in terms of the ferry service stopping in 2009 and plant closures in the area.

"The Halifax-Dartmouth region has also seen a decline in sales of almost 29 per cent, which was the result of a slower January," it said in a media release. Though the number of sales was down in Halifax-Dartmouth, the average sale price was up by 4.3 per cent.

"The double-digit freezing temperatures and snowfall may have been a factor in lack of sales, but some realtors are also seeing some uncertainty among buyers following the federal government's mortgage changes, as well as national economic conditions."

Wayne MacIntosh, president of NSAR, said Nova Scotia's drops were part of a wider slowing down of the national housing market. 

"However, the winter months can sometimes be unpredictable when it comes to sales, and they are not necessarily a sign of what's to come. We hope to see a busy, active real estate market once spring arrives," he said.

The Antigonish-Port Hawkesbury region saw a sales and average listing price increase. MacIntosh said that was likely connected to the reopening of the paper mill and a new golf course.