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For sale signs are seen outside homes for sale in the Kitsilano neighborhood in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday September 18, 2012.DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

Home prices rose just 0.2 per cent in August from July, the smallest increase for the month of August in 12 years, according to the Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index.

Prices declined in three of the 11 metropolitan housing markets that were surveyed. In Vancouver they dropped 1.2 per cent, in Victoria 0.7 per cent, and in Quebec City 0.6 per cent.

The other cities saw small price gains. Prices in Hamilton rose two per cent, in Ottawa 0.8 per cent, in Toronto and Edmonton 0.7 per cent, in Halifax 0.5 per cent, in Calgary and Winnipeg 0.4 per cent, and in Montreal 0.1 per cent.

Data suggests that Victoria and Vancouver are buyers' markets, while Winnipeg, Hamilton and Calgary are sellers' markets, according to Wednesday's release.

The house price index was up 4.1 per cent from a year ago.

The data on prices come days after the Canadian Real Estate Association said that sales over the Multiple Listing Service system fell 5.8 per cent in August from July, the largest month-over-month decline in two years.