With housing sales numbers stronger than expected at the start of this year, many of the more optimistic housing market observers were hoping that the worst is over for Canada’s housing slump.

But is it really? New data from research firm Teranet shows house prices in Canada fell in January for the fifth straight month, with prices dipping 0.3 per cent from December.

Teranet’s composite index of 11 major housing markets across Canada was still up on a year-over-year basis, by 2.7 per cent — but that’s the slowest rate of growth since 2009, when Canada’s economy was being rocked by the global financial crisis.

Vancouver was the only city on the index to post a year-on-year price decline, dropping 2.5 per cent from January, 2012.

But hopes that Toronto’s housing market is rebounding fizzled earlier this week with a report from the Toronto Real Estate Board showing an 8.3-per-cent decline in the volume of house sales in the first half of February. And the decline was not limited to the arguably overbuilt condo sector, with sales of detached homes falling as well.

Sales volumes were particularly weak in the 905 — the suburbs ringing Toronto — where they fell at least 11 per cent. But, as the Toronto Star noted, homeowners are pulling their houses off the market, reducing volume and increasing the demand for what remains. That means prices for detached homes in greater Toronto managed to rise about 4 per cent, year over year, from last year.

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney is among those who believe the housing slump has farther to go. In an interview last Sunday with CTV’s Question Period, Carney said the slump will likely last another two years and will see prices fall, on average, 10 per cent.

Carney said the run-up in house prices in recent years is “not normal.”

Real wealth is built through innovation, and it’s gained through hard work … not through some magical asset inflation,” he said, as quoted at the Globe and Mail.

The Financial Times in the U.K. suggested in an article earlier this month that Canada’s apparent housing bust “is casting a pall over the last few months” of Carney’s time as Bank of Canada governor, as he prepares to take over the Bank of England job this summer.

Many of the country’s real estate associations continue to argue that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s new, tighter mortgage rules, introduced last summer, are behind the housing slowdown, as opposed to any fundamental problems in the housing market.

There is little news to report about national sales activity, which continues to hold fairly steady at the lower levels first reached when mortgage rules were tightened in mid-2012,” Canadian Real Estate Association President Wayne Moen said in a statement earlier this week.

But some analysts are saying that, at this point, that argument may not fly anymore.

TD Bank senior economist Sonya Gulati told the Globe and Mail last month that the impact of the new rules is likely fully priced into the market at this point.

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  • Rosedale: $9.9 million

    Six bedrooms in a three-story house in Toronto's ritziest downtown neighbourhood. Complete with indoor pool. <a href="http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12303171&PidKey=1228725999">MLS listing</a>

  • Rosedale: $9.9 million

    Walkways among sculptured gardens lead down to a ravine. You need to pay seriously big bucks to get this sort of green space in downtown Toronto.

  • Rosedale: $9.9 million

    Interesting wall hanging...

  • Rosedale: $9.9 million

    Now that's a window.

  • York Mills: $10.5 million

    This house in north Toronto looks like a bungalow from the front...

  • York Mills: $10.5 million

    ...and like an apartment building from the back. Six bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and a two-story garage that fits 13 cars. Maybe it really is an apartment building. <a href="http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12576869&PidKey=-1902936773">MLS listing</a>

  • York Mills: $10.5 million

    The interior architecture eschews straight lines.

  • York Mills: $10.5 million

    Industrial-strength kitchen.

  • Oakville: $10.8 million

    A lakefront estate in one of Toronto's more elegant suburbs. Its best feature is probably the 757 feet of lake frontage, but the in-ground outdoor pool doesn't hurt either. <a href="http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=10882276&PidKey=-1593299957">MLS listing</a>

  • Oakville: $10.8 million

    It's as if you're living in the Hamptons...

  • Oakville: $10.8 million

    Recently upgraded kitchen.

  • Oakville: $10.8 million

    Virtual tour.

  • Yorkville: $10.9 million

    At this point, to call Yorkville "trendy" would be an anachronism. It was trendy thirty years ago; now, it's the favoured spot of Toronto's one per cent. This penthouse at 80 Yorkville Ave. has 5,600 square feet of living space and 2,200 square feet of terrace. <a href="http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12791643&PidKey=823029888">MLS listing</a>

  • Yorkville: $10.9 million

    Wall-to-wall windows give the pad a bright and airy feel.

  • Yorkville: $10.9 million

    Dining room or board room? Should make the Bay Street crowd feel at home, anyway.

  • Yorkville: $11.9 million

    Four bedrooms and six bathrooms in this condo on the outskirts of Yorkville. Some 6,000 square feet of living space and three terraces totalling some 4,200 square feet.

  • Yorkville: $11.9 million

    Quite the view.

  • Yorkville: $11.9 million

    Slick bathroom.

  • Yorkville: $11.9 million

    Built-in light fixtures adorn the ceilings. There's also a lap pool and whirlpool.

  • Queen's Park: $12.8 million

    This is a two-story penthouse just around the corner from Yorkville and facing the Royal Ontario Museum. Three bedrooms, two baths and four terraces, two facing the city skyline. <a href="http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12486126&PidKey=-1583121773">MLS listing</a>

  • Queen's Park: $12.8 million

    The view facing northeast towards Yorkville.

  • Queen's Park: $12.8 million

    The view facing downtown.

  • Bridle Path: $14 million

    There is 22,000 square feet of space in this opulent mansion in north Toronto. Eight bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, not to mention a home theatre and a second kitchen for catered events. <a href="http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12304584&PidKey=-1745904926">MLS listing</a>

  • Bridle Path: $14 million

    Quite the back yard.

  • Bridle Path: $14 million

    All the built-in shelving you could need, and then some.

  • Bridle Path: $14 million

    Another $14-million property in Bridle Path. This one features five bedrooms on 15,000 square feet, and a garage with a coach house. Not to mention a jacuzzi and sauna and two kitchens (three if you count the one in the coach house). <a href="http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12712157&PidKey=-2057989381">MLS listing</a>

  • Bridle Path: $14 million

    A bedroom for a fairy tale princess.

  • Bridle Path: $14 million

    Amazing wine cellar.

  • Oakville: $14 million

    Seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms in this suburban palace that also features an outdoor kitchen and an infinity edge pool. <a href="http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12808785&PidKey=1878376196">MLS listing</a>

  • Oakville: $14 million

    Looks even better from the back.

  • Oakville: $14 million

    Seriously ornate kitchen.

  • Oakville: $14 million

    Multiple chandeliers in this living room.

  • Oakville: $17 million

    Five bedroom and eight bathrooms on 185 feet of shoreline in Oakville. The property has its own harbour and boathouse, as well as an infinity edge pool, a lakeside firepit and a hot tub. But this house hasn't had much luck. It's been on the market for some time, and has made HuffPost's most expensive houses lists before. <a href="http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11627568&PidKey=387580347">MLS listing</a>

  • Oakville: $17 million

    Infinity edge pool.

  • Oakville: $17 million

    Video tour.

  • Caledon: $19 million

    Ten bedrooms and 17 bathrooms on a sprawling 100-acre estate northwest of Toronto. The property features ravines, ponds and an orchard, as well as an underground parking garage. Like the previous house, this place isn't having much luck. It's made a few of HuffPost's lists of most expensive houses for sale before. <a href="http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=12523940&PidKey=-467113379">MLS listing</a>

  • Caledon: $19 million

    Dining room fit for a palace.

  • Caledon: $19 million

    A uniquely designed indoor pool.