Photo: Heritage Vancouver/Flickr
Call it the March malaise. The Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price Index barely budged from February, a very rare occurence. Except for the recession year 2009, this is the first time in the 15 years that Teranet has been collecting data that home prices for Canada have failed to move in March.
However, stalled price growth was less of an issue in the West. All five of the major metros west of Ontario saw prices increase from February. Calgary led the pack with a 1.4 per cent increase, followed by Vancouver (0.6 per cent), Edmonton and Victoria (both 0.4 per cent) and Winnipeg (0.2 per cent).
In the Maritimes, Halifax also recorded a 0.8 per cent month-over-month increase, but this follows pronounced decreases in the previous three months. Home prices in March were still down by 4.9 per cent over nine months ago.
In Central Canada, prices in Toronto and Quebec City were flat, while they declined by 1.8 per cent in Montreal, 0.7 per cent in Hamilton and 0.6 per cent in Ottawa-Gatineau. The capital city saw its seventh consecutive monthly decrease for a cumulative drop of 3.5 per cent.
In Hamilton, prices have fallen in four out of the last six months, which represents a cumulative two per cent decline. Montreal saw prices decrease in six of the last eight months, representing a cumulative decline of three per cent. It was a similar situation in Quebec City, which also saw declines in six out of the last eights month, representing a cumulative decline of 3.4 per cent.
The plateau in Canadian houses prices in March 2014 also resulted in a deceleration of 12 month home price inflation, moving to 4.6 per cent from five per cent. It was the first time in nine months that 12-month inflation has slowed.
TD Economics weighed in on the new National Price Index numbers, which it called “a tad lower than market expectations.” The bank believes there will be a bounce back in activity in the short-term as the busy spring season gears up — especially since mortgage rates have hit new lows.
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