Canadian house prices rose 0.3% in January, finds the Teranet–National Bank House Price Index.
But the gain wasn’t broad-based: only four of the 11 constituent cities recorded increases in the month.
The main contributor was Vancouver (+1.2%), followed byVictoria (+1.0%), Toronto (+0.2%) and Montreal (+0.1%).
Vancouver drove the index for the second straight month, said Marc Pinsonneault, senior economist at National Bank, in a report on the index. “Without Vancouver, the composite index would have retreated for a fifth month in a row.”
On a year-over-year basis, Vancouver’s index for condos surged 23.0%, while the index for other types of dwellings rose 13.5%.
“Vancouver’s home resale market remained tight even after the introduction of a tax on acquisitions by foreigners,” says Pinsonneault. “The same cannot be said of Toronto.”
In Toronto the market turned from “tight to balanced” after the introduction of a similar tax last April, he says.
Still, Toronto’s index was up in January for the first time in six months, after the unsmoothed index (in which figures aren’t averaged) rose for a third month in a row.
“This firming of home prices in Toronto might reflect a rush to buy with pre-approved mortgages, granted before more stringent rules on qualification for uninsured mortgages were applied starting January 1,” says Pinsonneault.
He adds that, with further increases in mortgage rates still to come (according to CMHC, posted five-year rates were at 4.14% in January against a low of 3.59% last May), it’s “premature to conclude that home prices have definitely turned the corner in Toronto.”
For details on all 11 metropolitan markets, read the full report.