canadian home prices Photo: Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash

A Canadian home price index known to be the gold standard for measuring home price appreciation just recorded its highest increase for the month of December since 2009.

The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index rose 0.6 percent month-over-month in December, the strongest gain for the month in 11 years.

The index has posted robust gains since September, with December being no exception. However, the latest reading also marked the second straight month that the index recorded an increase that was lower than the previous month, indicating that price appreciation is decelerating across the country. In November, the index posted a stronger 0.9 percent monthly gain.

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When it came to local markets, National Bank Senior Economist Marc Pinsonneault said Victoria, Halifax, Ottawa-Gatineau, Montreal, Hamilton and Vancouver led the way for monthly price appreciation in December, recording increases ranging from 0.7 percent to 1.3 percent.

Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton recorded modest price appreciation, ranging from 0.1 percent to 0.4 percent. Quebec City was the only metro area included in the index’s 11 major markets that posted a monthly price decline, dropping 1.1 percent in December.

In commentary published alongside the data, Pinsonneault wrote the “strong rise of prices is consistent with the rise of home sale volume over the last several months.”

The Teranet-National Bank index is known to lag behind other widely used home price tracking tools, including the monthly average home sale prices published by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and local boards.

This is because the index is compiled using a repeat sales methodology that works by tracking the price change between the two most recent sales of the same property. The index uses prices entered into public land registries in the Canadian markets it tracks. These often are slower to respond to market changes because sale price data is not added to land registries as quickly as it’s entered into the MLS systems used by real estate boards.

Of the 11 key markets tracked, only Calgary recorded an annual sales decline at 1.5 percent. Ottawa-Gatineau posted the highest year-over-year price increase at nearly 20 percent, while Halifax, Montreal, Hamilton and Toronto also experienced double-digit annual price gains.

Overall, the national home price index was up 9.4 percent from a year earlier, the highest 12-month gain recorded since November 2017, according to Pinsonneault.

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