Photo: Doug Kerr/Flickr

January was a month of diverging trends for Canadian home prices as Montreal and Quebec City reached new heights at a time when western markets are going from bad to worse amid a weak energy sector.

According to the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index, which tracks 11 major markets from coast to coast, Canadian home prices were up 2.18 percent in January from a year ago despite slipping 0.5 percent from the previous month.

National Bank notes that the national, or composite, index has not risen for five months and highlighted that the weakness was concentrated in Western Canada.

Calgary prices were down 2.77 percent annually, while Edmonton saw a year-over-year drop of 2.37 percent. “Both Calgary and Edmonton are facing an outsized number of vacant new dwellings and continued price weakness,” notes National Bank in a news release.

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Calgary prices have fallen for seven months in a row, while Edmonton prices have now declined for five consecutive months.

Vancouver prices are roughly flat from a year ago after inching down 0.27 percent from the previous month. “In Vancouver, where home sales have weakened in recent months, things appear to be stabilizing,” notes National Bank, adding a strong local labour market should limit further declines.

The greatest annual price increase was recorded in Ottawa, as the index climbed 5.96 percent. But prices were 0.33 percent shy of the peak recorded the month before.

In the two peaking markets, Montreal and Quebec City, prices were up year-over-year by 4.46 percent and 3.15 percent, respectively. Compared to the previous month, Montreal prices eked out a 0.19-percent gain, while Ottawa values rose 1.25 percent.

Toronto prices were somewhere in between the two Quebec urban centres’ annual gains, increasing 3.63 percent from a year ago, receiving a 0.13-percent boost over December 2018 levels.

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