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With data in for all but one month of 2018, Canadian home prices have posted an average decline of 4.1 percent, as many local markets have weakened against 2017 numbers.

However, a handful of markets have held strong this past year, bucking the national trend downward, one that was driven considerably by a slowdown in the Prairies and west coast markets.

While struggles in markets like Calgary and Edmonton are widely expected to persist amid lower oil prices, can 2018’s stand-out markets keep it up in 2019? Here’s what the experts say.

Montreal

According to BMO, Montreal has surpassed all of Canada’s other major housing markets in terms of price growth. Home prices are up 5.5 percent through 11 months. Montreal is one of the markets BMO Chief Economist Douglas Porter expects “to remain generally healthy in 2019.”

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He is not alone. In a forecast published last month, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) predicts surging demand in Montreal’s resale market in 2019 and 2020. CMHC anticipates this will come on the shoulders of increasing full-time employment among a key homebuying demographic, the 25 to 44 age group.

While in recent years annual price growth has been about 2.5 percent, CMHC expects the rate of increases to be “definitely higher” than that over the next two years.

Ottawa

Ottawa is the other market BMO’s Porter says will be generally healthy next year. To date this year, prices in Ottawa are up 3.6 percent, and the president of the local real estate board predicts continued strength in the coming years.

“We believe the market is going to remain strong in Ottawa, we think we’re still going to have an inventory issue over the next couple of years,” Dwight Delahunt, president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, tells Livabl.

Federal government jobs and a booming tech industry are supporting demand, as well as immigration and a shortage of land that’s ready for development.

Halifax

Halifax trails Ottawa in terms of price growth over 11 months this year at a rate of 2.1 percent.

“Positive net interprovincial migration will continue to boost Halifax’s resale market,” reads CMHC’s Atlantic Canada outlook. “In fact, not only have fewer Nova Scotians been leaving the province for opportunities elsewhere, but Halifax’s more affordable housing market has been attracting buyers from other parts of the country.”

Partly as a result of this — and also an uptick in employment — the national housing agency suggests existing home sales and prices are going to increase in the next couple of years.

Windsor

In a comment that may surprise some, BMO has called Windsor one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.

While sales in the Windsor area were down 7.9 percent annually in November, the most recent month for which data was available, they remain near historic highs. And prices were up a scorching 10.6 percent.

“Our supply is still low — like, super, super low,” Tina Roy, president of the Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors, tells Livabl of what’s elevating prices still. The area’s relatively affordability (the average price of a home is south of $300,000) has drawn buyers from the GTA, and retirees have been snapping up waterfront properties.

“It doesn’t look like it’s slowing any time soon,” she says, noting the expectation is for another strong year, albeit one that doesn’t match this year’s heat.

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