12/12/2014 01:02 EST | Updated 02/11/2015 05:59 EST

House prices show signs of cooling in November

Canadian housing prices showed signs of cooling in November, with Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price Index down 0.3 per cent from the previous month.

It was the first monthly decline in the past year. On an annual basis, house prices are still up 5.2 per cent, but that is lower than October’s 5.4 per cent.

The decline was broad-based, affecting eight of the 11 major Canadian markets, including Calgary and Toronto where there was concern about overheating in the housing sector.

Edmonton was the only city to show an increase — of 1.1 per cent — while Vancouver and Hamilton were unchanged from October.

The cities where prices declined in November:

- Halifax, 1.6%.

- Quebec, 1.5%.

- Montreal, 1.0%.

- Winnipeg, 0.7%.

- Ottawa-Gatineau, 0.6%.

- Toronto, 0.3%.

- Victoria, 0.3%.

- Calgary, 0.2%.

Compared to last year, five cities saw increases above the national average — Calgary (9.2 per cent), Toronto (7.3 per cent), Hamilton (seven per cent), Edmonton (6.2 per cent) and Vancouver (5.9 per cent).

Prices still elevated

The resale market in these five urban areas is balanced or even tight, Teranet said in its report.

“While home prices in Canada's 11 major cities may have edged down slightly in November, they still remain quite elevated, hovering near record highs,” said TD Bank economist Dina Dina Ignjatovic in a note to investors.

“Moreover, while the decline was fairly broad based, prices in several key cities are well up from year-ago levels,” she said.

There has been much hand-wringing in the past few months over elevated housing prices in Canada, including a flag earlier this week from Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz who said prices might be anywhere from 10 to 30 per cent too high.

But the ultra-low interest rate environment continues to support new home buyers, said Dina Ignjatovic, though that may not last.

“As interest rates creep up in the latter half of next year and into 2016, affordability will erode, resulting in a moderation in home price growth,” she predicted.