Home prices gain but at lowest rate for 20 months
The growth in house prices slowed last month according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. The annual rise to December was 3.8 per cent, lower than any other month since May 2013. Sales volume was a healthier 7.9 per cent although down almost 6 per cent from November. When broken down there was a large downturn in sales of existing homes in Calgary with a 24.6 per cent drop in December from the month before and Edmonton’s decline was 26.4 per cent. The figures show the biggest drop since 2008 and are being attributed to the weakened energy sector. Sales also slipped in the Greater Toronto Area by 5 per cent. CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump is upbeat about the data: “Given the uncertain outlook for oil prices, it’s no surprise consumer confidence in Alberta softened and moved some home buyers to the sidelines,” he said, “With regards to slower activity in Calgary and Edmonton, sales in these two markets had been running strong all year before they returned to levels that are entirely average for the month of December.” Average prices continued to rise but with disparity. Calgary saw the largest increase in year-over-year prices (+8.80 per cent), followed by Greater Toronto (+7.89 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+5.82 per cent). By contrast, prices in Regina declined by 3.48 per cent.