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A realtor's 'Sold' sign stands outside this Toronto home in this file photo.

Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Toronto's housing market is chalking up fresh records as Vancouver's slump deepens.

Toronto prices rose in December at a record pace of 19.7 per cent from a year earlier, according to the latest reading of the Teranet-National Bank home price index Thursday.

Vancouver prices also rose from a year earlier, by a strong 17 per cent, but the story there lies more in the monthly performance.

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Prices in Vancouver have been easing as sales slump, particularly in the wake of a new provincial tax on foreign buyers of Vancouver area homes.

Thus, prices in Vancouver slipped 0.8 per cent in December from November, marking the third straight drop for a cumulative 2.8 per cent.

In Toronto, prices rose 1.2 per cent from November, marking the 11th consecutive increase.

"National house price inflation has shed some momentum in recent months as Vancouver continues to deflate," said Marc Pinsonneault of National Bank.

"Canada's priciest city experienced its third consecutive monthly decline, and more is in store," he added.

"The price drop so far far was mostly concentrated in dwellings other than condos. This is consistent with house sales declines (since their February peak) mostly concentrated in detached dwellings."

Here's the cross-country showing for others on a monthly basis: Victoria, up 1.2 per cent, Quebec City and Calgary each up 0.6 per cent, Hamilton and Halifax each up 0.4 per cent, Ottawa-Gatineau 0.3 per cent, and Edmonton 0.1 per cent.

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Prices fell 0.5 per cent in Montreal and 1.2 per cent in Winnipeg.

The annual reading: Prices climbed 17.7 per cent in Victoria, a record 17.5 per cent in Hamilton, 3.6 per cent in Ottawa-Gatineau, 3.4 per cent in Winnipeg, 1.5 per cent in Halifax, 0.8 per cent in Montreal, 0.6 per cent in Cagary, and just 0.1 per cent in Edmonton. Prices in Quebec City fell 0.7 per cent.

Mr. Pinsonneault and other economists believe Toronto is headed for a cooling period amid new federal tax and mortgage rules. Economists forecast, though, that price growth will simply ease, rather than an outright contraction.

"We have yet to see it, but sooner or later low affordability and the new rules regarding the qualification for an insured mortgage will take some steam out of demand and prices," Mr. Pinsonneault said.

"In the meantime, Toronto, Hamilton and Victoria are the three metropolitan regions pulling up the composite index growth month after month. Apart from Vancouver and these three regions, house prices have been flat over the last six months."

On a national basis, prices rose 12.3 per cent in December from a year earlier, and 0.3 per cent from November.

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