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Canadian home prices continued to rise in April while existing home sales saw a slight decline over the same period in 2013, according to statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

The national average sale price climbed 7.6 per cent over April 2013 to $409,708. Toronto and Vancouver, the country’s most expensive markets, skewed the national average upward. With Toronto and Vancouver removed from the equation, the year-over-year sale price increase would be reduced to 4.8 per cent.

The MLS Home Price Index also rose 5.02 per cent per cent over April 2013, but lost some momentum over March, when it increased by 5.19 per cent. This was the first deceleration in year-over-year price growth since April 2013. CREA says the index is a better gauge of price trends because it’s unaffected by changes in the mix of sales activity.

On the local level, the biggest gains in the Home Price Index were seen in Calgary (9.52 per cent), Greater Toronto (7.01 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (3.64 per cent).

April is typically one of the busiest months for home sales and, unsurprisingly, national sales activity was up 2.7 per cent month-over-month, led by increases in Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver. However, actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity for April 2014 came in 0.3 per cent below activity during the same period last year.

“Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto fueled the anticipated spring pick up in national home sales in April which masked softer activity in a number of smaller markets,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie.

Increases in sales activity in Calgary and Edmonton also contributed to the overall rise, offsetting softer activity in Ottawa, Montreal, and rural and suburban areas in Quebec.

“Sales activity for the month of April and for the year to date came in below the 10-year average in more than 60 per cent of all housing markets,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “This shows that tightened mortgage rules and guidelines are working as intended to keep activity in check despite mortgage interest rates remaining extraordinarily low.”

The April statistics from another important measure Canadian housing market health, the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index, were released yesterday. Read up on our coverage here.

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