01/15/2015 09:38 EST | Updated 03/17/2015 05:59 EDT

Canadian Home Sales Tumble 5.8%, But Still Up From A Year Ago


OTTAWA - There were fewer home resales in Canada last month, with Calgary and Edmonton showing the biggest declines.

The Canadian Real Estate Association says the number of sales of previously owned homes was down 5.8 per cent nationally in December compared with November, with almost two-thirds of all local housing markets showing declines.

Calgary and Edmonton were each down 25 per cent and activity slipped about five per cent in the Toronto area.

CREA chief economist Gregory Klump said it was no surprise that consumer confidence in Alberta softened last month, given the uncertain outlook for oil prices, but added that sales in Calgary and Edmonton "had been running strong all year before they returned to levels that are entirely average for the month of December.”

Despite fewer sales, CREA says its housing price index was up 5.38 per cent in December from a year earlier.

The national average price for homes sold in December was $405,233 — up 3.8 per cent from a year earlier, the smallest increase since May 2013.

The association noted that the national price is skewed by the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto markets, which are the most active and expensive in Canada.

Excluding those two cities, the national average price in November was $319,481 — up 1.9 per cent from a year earlier.

Earlier this week, national real estate company Royal LePage said the price of a Canadian home is expected to rise by a relatively modest 2.9 per cent on average in 2015 as price appreciation slows across the country.

LePage said Toronto is expected to lead the pack when it comes to price increases this year, with up an estimated 4.5 per cent, although that would be well behind last year's pace.

Vancouver was expected to see the second-biggest average jump in prices, up 2.8 per cent, followed by a 2.4 per cent gain in Calgary.

The realtor says economic factors, including the plummeting price of oil, would likely to cause home prices to grow at a slower pace, particularly in Western Canada.

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