TORONTO — A new survey says Canadian home prices weakened in September as a change in mortgage rules introduced in the summer appeared to keep some buyers out of the market.The Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index released Wednesday shows that home prices fell 0.4% in September from the previous month.If sales continue to decline, a cumulative price drop of around five per cent is likely in a soft-landing scenario for the Canadian home resale marketThe drop was spread across six of the 11 Canadian cities in the study, with Victoria facing the steepest decline of 1.3%.Prices fell in Vancouver, down 1.2%, and Ottawa, down 0.8%.Other Canadian cities showing weakness were Montreal (down 0.6%), Edmonton (down 0.7%) and Victoria (1.3%).On the upside was Toronto, rising 0.1%, while both Calgary and Halifax rose 0.5%. Hamilton increased 0.3% in September from August.[np-related]On a national level, home prices are still 3.6% higher than they were a year earlier.The report offered further evidence of the summertime slowdown of the domestic economy, as well as the impact of mortgage regulations that were introduced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in July.Under the new rules, the maximum amortization period for government-insured mortgages would be reduced to 25 years from 30 years.National Bank senior economist Marc Pinsonneault said in a report that the regulation changes “undoubtedly contributed to cool the market.”But he also noted that third-quarter home sales for the cities in the survey fell eight per cent from the previous three month period, which could be a harbinger for lower house prices next year.“Price declines have occurred outside recessions when sales dropped a few quarters in a row, even if market conditions were overall balanced. We could see a repeat of that,” Pinsonneault said.“In our view, if sales continue to decline, a cumulative price drop of around five per cent is likely in a soft-landing scenario for the Canadian home resale market.”The Canadian PressAndrew Barr/National Post
To use the service, a caller lists the emergency service they require, followed by a description of the problem and the location in a text. It has also been used by those with allergies who are left temporarily unable to speak due to anaphylactic shock. A spokesman for BT said that it “did not recommend” that people without a disability use the service. He added that if a caller is unable to speak, the “Silent Solutions” rule is a better way to communicate with emergency staff. This means that a silent 999 caller can let operators know that they are experiencing a real emergency by responding to prompts to cough or tap the handset, or by pressing “55” on their keypad. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Callers have been warned against using a text service designed for deaf people to contact the emergency services.According to BT, 250,000 people are registered with a text service which allows users to contact emergency services without speaking on the phone.The service, which was set up to help deaf people and those with a speech impediment, could allow those in a hostage situation in which it would be too dangerous to speak to call for help silently. But both BT and Ofcom have warned that the system should only be used when necessary as an increase in demand could cause capacity issues for disabled users.It also has a slower response time than a 999 call.A spokesman for the communications regulator, which requires mobile phone companies to provide the service, said that it “has been designed specifically for people with hearing loss or difficulty with speech”. Users register for the system in advance by sending the word “register” in a text to 999 and replying “yes” to the response, which will include information about the service. BT does not record whether those who register are hearing-impaired or not. Currently the service receives only 14 requests a week. The system, which has been mandatory since 2011, relies on “relay assistants” who dictate the contents of the message to a 999 adviser and write down the response to be sent back to the caller in another text message.