Canadian property prices rising steadily

Toronto and Calgary are seeing the highest annual gains

Residential property prices in Canada are rising with Toronto and Calgary seeing the highest annual gains, according to the latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association.

It’s April MLS Home Price Index increased 5.2% year on year. Toronto again posted the largest increase of 7.9%, with Calgary up 4%, Vancouver up 3.7%, the Fraser Valley up 2.7% and Montreal up 2.3%.

The index increase was similar to those for the previous two months and among the smallest since last August. However, the moderation in overall price gains in recent months masks diverging trends among the major Canadian markets.

It also shows that year on year price growth in Greater Vancouver slowed markedly in April and moderated in the nearby Fraser Valley. By contrast, Montreal, a market that tends towards more stable price growth, saw a small uptick in line with the aggregate index.

Toronto’s price index accelerated for the second straight month, consistent with its market balance where negotiations continue to favour the seller. Calgary is also now seeing prices begin to advance in earnest, supported by a strong economic outlook, recent gains in in-migration, and strong full time job growth.

‘Canadian home price gains are generally expected to moderate, but there are a few hot spots where prices are being fuelled by some very strong housing market fundamentals,’ said Wayne Moen, CREA’s president.

‘Toronto has less than two months of supply compared to six months nationally, so it ranks among the tightest of Canadian housing markets,’ he added.

Among the different housing types tracked by the index, single family homes again posted the biggest year on year gains in April with growth of 6.4%. This was led by two storey single family homes which increased by 6.9%. The index for one storey single family homes rose 5.6% from April 2011, while townhouses and apartments saw gains of 3.6% and 2.7% respectively.

‘Just as there are some pretty clear differences emerging across markets right now, there have also been some interesting developments in price trends across housing types,’ said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

‘The one that really stood out in April was accelerating price growth for the townhouse segment right across the board. In Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, it was the only segment in which prices gains accelerated,’ he added.

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