Canada’s government-run mortgage insurer is downplaying a news report that its method of collecting house price data may be causing prices to spike.

But in a statement to the press on Thursday, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation did not deny that its automated risk assessment system, known as emili, may be pushing house prices higher than they otherwise would be.

According to government documents obtained by the Globe and Mail, unidentified banks, property appraisers and mortgage insurers have raised concerns with the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions that emili may be raising prices.

Emili allows prospective mortgage issuers to enter data about a particular house, and the house’s proposed price, to see whether the price falls within an acceptable range. Critics — whose identities were redacted from the documents — say that emili defines too broad a range of prices as acceptable.

It allows people to pay too much for a property,” Rick Sieb, president of Intercity Appraisals Ltd., told the Globe.

“If the property is worth $300, and somebody comes through and the realtor has convinced him to pay $330, so he’s 10 per cent out, and they submit it through Emili or another AVM, it will just say ‘yeah, that’s fine for that area,” Mr. Sieb said. “So the lender still lends the money, the guy still buys it, and the only person hurt in the whole deal is the person who paid too much.”

But the CMHC said in a statement emailed to reporters that emili takes into account many factors beyond price to determine whether a mortgage poses an acceptable risk.

“CMHC does not use property value averages, but uses the specific characteristics of the property being assessed,” the mortgage insurer stated. “The database and models are continually updated and independently reviewed by a third party. This system is one tool used by CMHC underwriters located across the country to assess the homebuyer’s application for mortgage loan insurance.”

The corporation stressed that there are safeguards beyond emili to ensure that home buyers aren’t taking on too much debt and mortgage issuers aren’t taking on too much risk.

“Industry and CMHC studies show that the majority of Canadian homebuyers do their homework prior to making an offer to purchase a home and obtain financing. Similarly, when individual banks look at a homeowner’s mortgage application, they too assess a multitude of factors including the borrower’s source and level of income and the value of the property,” the corporation said.

Yet the CMHC did not directly address whether its system could contribute to rising house prices.

Recent housing data shows that home sales across the country — particularly in Toronto and Vancouver — have slowed sharply. But surveys show housing prices still rising across the country, even in Toronto, which experienced a 12.5 per-cent decline in sales of existing homes in August, year-over-year, and a whopping 70 per cent decline in sales of new homes in the same period.

House prices can continue to rise even as sales slow because it takes time for buyers and sellers to adjust to new realities in the housing market. But an assessment system that takes too broad a view of acceptable risk could also contribute to rising prices.

The CMHC provides insurance on mortgages where home buyers have put down less than the standard 20 per cent down payment. Its insurance policies are fully guaranteed by the fedeal government, meaning taxpayers could be on the hook if the corporation finds it difficult to cover mortgages that have gone into default.

Concerns about CMHC’s activities raising house prices have been brought up before. Montreal billionaire investor Stephen Jarislowsky has suggested in the past that Canadian house prices may be overvalued by 20 per cent in some markets because of CMHC policies designed to encourage home buying.

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  • Newfoundland: $2.5 Million

    This surprisingly modest house at 34 Battery Road in St. John's is a historic property dating back to the 1870s. The six-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house overlooks St. John's Harbour and suggests that, on the Rock, even the wealthy are down-to-earth. Source: <a href="http://remax.nf.ca/">Re/Max</a>

  • Newfoundland: $2.5 Million

    This surprisingly modest house at 34 Battery Road in St. John's is a historic property dating back to the 1870s. The six-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house overlooks St. John's Harbour and suggests that, on the Rock, even the wealthy are down-to-earth. Source: <a href="http://remax.nf.ca/">Re/Max</a>

  • Newfoundland: $2.5 Million

    This surprisingly modest house at 34 Battery Road in St. John's is a historic property dating back to the 1870s. The six-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house overlooks St. John's Harbour and suggests that, on the Rock, even the wealthy are down-to-earth. Source: <a href="http://remax.nf.ca/">Re/Max</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • Nova Scotia: $6.7 Million

    This newly-built, 6,000-square-foot house in Ketch Harbour, N.S., sits on the granite shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and features "a series of interlocking pavilions constructed of reinforced concrete and window walls of star fire glass to capture the amazing, endless ocean views," as the realtor describes it. Only three bedrooms in this house, but what a view. Source: <a href="http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/">Tradewinds Realty</a>

  • Nova Scotia: $6.7 Million

    This newly-built, 6,000-square-foot house in Ketch Harbour, N.S., sits on the granite shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and features "a series of interlocking pavilions constructed of reinforced concrete and window walls of star fire glass to capture the amazing, endless ocean views," as the realtor describes it. Only three bedrooms in this house, but what a view. Source: <a href="http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/">Tradewinds Realty</a>

  • Nova Scotia: $6.7 Million

    This newly-built, 6,000-square-foot house in Ketch Harbour, N.S., sits on the granite shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and features "a series of interlocking pavilions constructed of reinforced concrete and window walls of star fire glass to capture the amazing, endless ocean views," as the realtor describes it. Only three bedrooms in this house, but what a view. Source: <a href="http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/">Tradewinds Realty</a>

  • Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog. The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a barn on the property was declared a historical site. Source: <a href="http://passerelle.centris.ca/Redirect2.aspx?CodeDest=JMONTANARO&NoMls=MT10764029&Source=WWW.REALTOR.CA&Langue=E">Centris</a>

  • Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog. The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a barn on the property was declared a historical site. Source: <a href="http://passerelle.centris.ca/Redirect2.aspx?CodeDest=JMONTANARO&NoMls=MT10764029&Source=WWW.REALTOR.CA&Langue=E">Centris</a>

  • Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog. The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a barn on the property was declared a historical site. Source: <a href="http://passerelle.centris.ca/Redirect2.aspx?CodeDest=JMONTANARO&NoMls=MT10764029&Source=WWW.REALTOR.CA&Langue=E">Centris</a>

  • Ontario: $17.9 Million

    This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house. The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat. Source: <a href="http://www.remaxaboutowne.com/">Re/Max Aboutowne</a>

  • Ontario: $17.9 Million

    This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house. The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat. Source: <a href="http://www.remaxaboutowne.com/">Re/Max Aboutowne</a>

  • Ontario: $17.9 Million

    This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house. The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat. Source: <a href="http://www.remaxaboutowne.com/">Re/Max Aboutowne</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Alberta: $12.7 Million

    This house, featured in Architectural Digest, sits in beautiful Canmore, on the edge of the Rockies, and has six bedrooms and 10 baths. The property features multiple "outdoor living rooms" (think ornate decks) to enjoy the view. For those into medieval intrigue, there is a hidden staircase running to the underground wine cellar. Source: <a href="http://www.rlfoothills.com/">Royal LePage Foothills</a>

  • Alberta: $12.7 Million

    This house, featured in Architectural Digest, sits in beautiful Canmore, on the edge of the Rockies, and has six bedrooms and 10 baths. The property features multiple "outdoor living rooms" (think ornate decks) to enjoy the view. For those into medieval intrigue, there is a hidden staircase running to the underground wine cellar. Source: <a href="http://www.rlfoothills.com/">Royal LePage Foothills</a>

  • Alberta: $12.7 Million

    This house, featured in Architectural Digest, sits in beautiful Canmore, on the edge of the Rockies, and has six bedrooms and 10 baths. The property features multiple "outdoor living rooms" (think ornate decks) to enjoy the view. For those into medieval intrigue, there is a hidden staircase running to the underground wine cellar. Source: <a href="http://www.rlfoothills.com/">Royal LePage Foothills</a>

  • British Columbia: $34 Million

    The most expensive house in Canada's priciest (and fastest-falling) real estate market features four bedrooms and six baths on 8,500 square feet, as well as a very cool boat house. But in a sign of the weakening of Vancouver's housing market, this property in ritzy West Vancouver has been on the market for some time — it featured as the most expensive house for sale in all of Canada the last time we put together this survey, in June 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.angellhasman.ca/">Angell Hasman Realty</a>

  • British Columbia: $34 Million

    The most expensive house in Canada's priciest (and fastest-falling) real estate market features four bedrooms and six baths on 8,500 square feet, as well as a very cool boat house. But in a sign of the weakening of Vancouver's housing market, this property in ritzy West Vancouver has been on the market for some time — it featured as the most expensive house for sale in all of Canada the last time we put together this survey, in June 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.angellhasman.ca/">Angell Hasman Realty</a>

  • British Columbia: $34 Million

    The most expensive house in Canada's priciest (and fastest-falling) real estate market features four bedrooms and six baths on 8,500 square feet, as well as a very cool boat house. But in a sign of the weakening of Vancouver's housing market, this property in ritzy West Vancouver has been on the market for some time — it featured as the most expensive house for sale in all of Canada the last time we put together this survey, in June 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.angellhasman.ca/">Angell Hasman Realty</a>

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  • 10. South Korea - Up 5.8%

  • 9. Norway - Up 6.3%

  • 8. Russia - Up 7.88%

  • 7. Turkey - Up 7.93%

  • 6. Iceland - Up 8.82%

  • 5. Philippines - Up 10.68%

  • 4. Austria - Up 11.04%

  • 3. Estonia - Up 13.9%

  • 2. Brazil (Sao Paulo) - Up 25.54%

  • 1. India (Delhi) - Up 33.33%