Wednesday, 4 February 2015

HPI Monthly Report: Home Prices Down 0.2% in December

In December the Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price Index™ was down 0.2% from the previous month. It was a second consecutive monthly decline. It must be said that in the last five years, price drops in November and December have been frequent. In December, prices were down in five of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed: Halifax (−1.9%), Calgary (−1.1%), Quebec City (−1.0%), Montreal (−0.9%) and Vancouver (−0.4%). The indexes for Victoria and Winnipeg were flat. Prices were up in Toronto (0.3%), in Edmonton (0.2%) and in Hamilton and Ottawa-Gatineau (0.1%). The slight rise in this last market interrupted a run of three consecutive monthly declines totalling −2.2%, leaving all four markets east of Toronto continuing to trend down: Montreal prices fell in four of the last five months of 2014, for a total decline of 3.2%, Quebec City prices in the last two months, total decline 2.4%, and Halifax prices in the last three months, total decline 4.2%. In Hamilton, by contrast, prices were at a new record in December. Prices were falling or flat in Victoria in the last four months of 2014, total decline 2.3%, and in Winnipeg in the last three months, total decline 1.1%.

The composite index ended 2014 up 4.9% from a year earlier, versus gains of 3.8% in 2013 and 3.1% in 2012. In short, the market was stimulated on the whole by the historic lows of mortgage rates in 2014. Prices rose over the year in nine of the 11 markets surveyed. In four markets the increase was well above the countrywide average: Calgary (8.3%), Hamilton (7.8%), Toronto (7.2%), Edmonton (5.8%). The 12-month rise was close to the average in Vancouver (5.0%) and lagged it in Victoria (3.2%) and Winnipeg (1.5%). Montreal (+0.3%) and Ottawa-Gatineau (+0.1%) showed minimal gains. Prices were down from a year earlier in Quebec City (−0.8%) and Halifax (−2.5%). The flat or declining prices of the markets east of Toronto were consistent with buyer’s-market conditions in those urban areas.

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