The Canadian Real Estate Association released its latest home sales data on Monday, showing a nearly 12-per-cent year-on-year drop in the number of home sales in November.

But what emerged is a picture of many, very different housing markets. Though the overall numbers were negative, two of every five local markets actually saw a pick-up in the number of sales.

To figure out which markets are strongest and which are weakest, we looked at CREA’s total dollar value statistics, which measure the market by adding up the value of all sales in a given area.

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Canada's Best and Worst Housing Markets
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The dollar value number may be among the most significant, because it shows how much money is actually flowing through a housing market, and so gives us a good indication of whether developers will be building or pulling back, and whether buyers will face upward or downward price pressure.

By that measure, only five of the 26 local markets tracked by CREA were up in November. And the results were somewhat surprising: Although Vancouver’s overpriced market did see some of the largest declines, it wasn’t the worst. Its 31.7-per-cent decline in the dollar value of sales wasn’t as large as Halifax’s 36.2-per-cent decline.

The strongest markets were also something of a surprise, with Saint John, New Brunswick leading dollar value growth at an 18.1-per-cent clip. But Atlantic Canada’s long-depressed real estate markets mean places like Saint John are starting low, and high growth rates are more easily achieved than in more expensive places.

The Toronto housing market saw its dollar value decline by 17.5 per cent in November 2012, compared the same month a year earlier. That wasn’t enough for the city to make it on the list as either one of the worst or one of the best markets.