(Source: Bloomberg)

Largest decline since two per cent drop in September 1996

OTTAWA — Contractors’ selling prices decreased 0.7 per cent between January and February, compared with a 0.6 per cent decline a month earlier. Statistics Canada reports the New Housing Price Index was down 1.8 per cent in February from a year earlier – the second straight year-over-year decrease and the largest decline since a two per cent drop in September 1996.

The agency says that between January and February, prices declined three per cent in Edmonton, 2.9 in Vancouver, 2.1 in Saskatoon, 1.7 in Victoria and 0.9 in Calgary. StatsCan blames poor market conditions in all cities but Saskatoon, where it says declines were due to lower material and labour costs and competitive market conditions.

New housing prices increased 2.6 per cent in Quebec City from a month earlier, as some builders moved to new development phases with increased land values while others boosted prices due to a shortage of available land in the city. In Charlottetown, prices increased by 1.2 per cent, partly as a result of increased land values in the current market.

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