“Canadian house prices are rich no matter how one looks at it,” Scotia economists Derek Holt and Karen Cordes said in a report titled Is There a Canadian Housing Bubble? Of the many ways of gauging the health of a real estate market, affordability is one of the least useful because any measure that essentially compares income with mortgage payments is dependent on interest rates, Holt said Tuesday. Rates are at record lows at the moment, as the Bank of Canada’s benchmark rate sits at 0.25 per cent. Comparing current and past prices is more useful, the report says, and under that metric, Canadian housing prices are in eye-opening territory. The U.S. S&P/Case Shiller index rose 100 per cent between 2000 and its peak in mid-2006. The Canadian equivalent is up 86 per cent during the past decade. Looking at real estate on a price-to-rent perspective also suggests speculative activity, as the ratio of housing prices to how much the spaces could bring in rental income has more than doubled since 1981.