Four months after the Vancouver housing market peaked, three others have lifted Canadian home prices to a new post-recession high.
Canadian home prices surged 13 per cent in January compared to where they stood a year prior, according to the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index.
Looking back, the Canadian market hasn’t posted such a large annual gain since January 2007.
“The strength at the national level really reflects Toronto, nearby Hamilton and Victoria,” writes National Bank Economist Marc Pinsonneault.
With a year-over-year price increase of 20.9 per cent, Toronto led all 11 markets the index tracks in terms of gains. Hamilton and Victoria trailed with prices rising 17.6 per cent and 17.1 per cent respectively.
Although Vancouver had an index price that was 16.4 per cent higher this January than last, Pinsonneault notes prices there are down a cumulative 2.5 per cent in the past four months.
In August 2016, BC enacted a foreign-buyer tax for Metro Vancouver. Since then, home sales activity and prices have sputtered in what was once Canada’s hottest major market.
Smaller annual gains — ranging from 4 per cent to 0.5 per cent — were recorded in Ottawa-Gatineau, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, Calgary and Edmonton.
Only one market posted a year-over-year price dip: Quebec City, where prices dropped 0.2 per cent from January 2016.
Compared to December 2016 prices, Hamilton saw the largest gains in January at 1.1 per cent, with Toronto and Montreal each trailing at 0.8 per cent.
Prices rose 0.3 per cent month-over-month in Vancouver, 0.2 per cent in Victoria and 0.1 per cent in Calgary and Quebec City.
They were unchanged from the previous month in Halifax, while they declined by 0.7 per cent in Winnipeg and Ottawa-Gatineau and by 0.1 per cent in Edmonton.
The resultant national month-over-month increase is the largest National Bank has observed in the index’s entire 18-year history.
National Bank doesn’t expect what’s currently the Canadian housing market’s biggest boom to continue throughout the calendar year.
“Given that Toronto is a relatively expensive market, house price growth is weighing on affordability for first-time home buyers,” Pinsonneault writes.
“This, together with the new rules on qualification for an insured mortgage, should sooner or later take steam out of the market,” he says.