11/15/2011 09:35 EST | Updated 01/15/2012 05:12 EST

Canada House Prices Rise At Slowest Pace Since January: CREA


The value and number of homes sold in Canada increased again in October, but at a much slower pace than in recent history.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said home sales rose 1.2 per cent in October, on the heels of a 2.5 per cent gain in September. That puts real estate sales at their highest level since January, but the agency says activity is "still best described as average."

A total of 397,561 homes have traded hands this year, the agency said.

"There was no shortage of headline news in October about global financial market volatility and economic uncertainty, but it doesn’t appear to have dampened homebuyers’ spirits," CREA president Garty Morse said.

On the price side, there were also gains. The average price of a Canadian home sold on the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) was $362,899 — 5.5 per cent higher than where it was a year ago.

Conversely to sales, which have hit their 2011 high, a gain of 5.5 per cent is the lowest pace of gain seen since January.

The price gains are being driven by large increases in a few local markets.

Experts look at increases or decreases in the total number of sales as a more accurate gauge of the health of the real estate market.

"Consumer confidence and the housing sector are being supported by low interest rates and high employment levels," said CREA's chief economist, Gregory Klump, "but their prospects depend on how Canada’s economic outlook evolves in response to global economic risks and outcomes in the months ahead."

About 60 per cent of local markets in Canada were in balanced market territory in October. Of the remaining markets, there was a handful more sellers markets than buyers markets, CREA said.