New home prices edge higher

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More fuel has been added to the fire, as talk of a Canadian housing bubble continues to gain momentum, with the latest data showing more home price gains.

Statistics Canada’s new housing price index (NHPI) rose 0.3 per cent in March, building on a similar increase the previous month, with Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau, Edmonton and Calgary leading the way.

Over the past year, the new price index was up 2.6 per cent, with Toronto and Oshawa recording 6.2-per-cent increases. According to the federal agency, the rise in prices was predominantly explained by good market conditions and increased demand.

March's index, however, found Vancouver and Victoria, once two of Canada's hottest markets, showing some take-back. The index slipped 0.1 and 0.7 per cent respectively in the month. StatsCan said in Victoria builders reduced their prices as a result of competitive market conditions.

Among the 21 metropolitan regions surveyed, four posted 12-month price declines in March, with Victoria (3 per cent) posting the largest decrease.

Gainers in March included Winnipeg, up 0.7 per cent, Toronto and Oshawa, 0.6; Ottawa-Gatineau, 0.5; Edmonton, 0.4; and Calgary and St. John's, both with 0.3 per cent increases.

The agency says Winnipeg's gain was primarily the result of higher land development costs and increased material and labour costs.



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