The national average home price rose by eight per cent last month even as housing sales fell by 14.7 per cent from the year before, according to data released yesterday.

Home prices jumped to $372,544 compared to last April — the third consecutive month in which the national average price rose by eight per cent from year ago levels, the Canadian Real Estate Association said. Meanwhile, the number of previously occupied homes sold in April fell to 17,230 from 18,745 a year ago.

The national housing has been skewed recently due to a surge in sales of multimillion-dollar properties in the Greater Vancouver area.

Demand for those properties fell in April compared to March, but was offset by fewer sales of lower priced properties. “Changes to mortgage regulations that took effect in April 2011 likely sidelined a number of first-time homebuyers,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

Declines were largest in some of Canada’s most expensive and active markets, including Toronto, Vancouver and British Columbia’s Fraser Valley.