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New Housing Price Index, March 2015

By Statistics Canada | The Daily | May 14, 2015

The New Housing Price Index (NHPI) was unchanged in March, following a 0.2% increase in February. Monthly price increases in eight metropolitan areas were offset by decreases in seven metropolitan areas, resulting in no change to the Canada level index.

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The combined region of Toronto and Oshawa, and the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Winnipeg recorded the largest price increases in March, both up 0.4%.

Builders in Toronto and Oshawa cited market conditions, smaller promotional packages and higher labour costs as the main reasons behind the gain. This was the largest price increase in the region since April 2014.

According to builders in Winnipeg, higher new home prices were mainly due to an increase in the cost of materials, as well as the cost to purchase land. This was the largest monthly price increase in Winnipeg since January 2014.

Prices in Charlottetown rose 0.3% after being unchanged for two months. Builders in that CMA reported market conditions and higher land development costs as the main reasons for the advance.

New housing prices rose 0.2% in Hamilton and St. Catharines–Niagara in March. Higher prices due to market conditions were moderated by lower negotiated selling prices in both CMAs.

The CMAs of St. John's, Halifax and Québec also recorded price increases in March, all up 0.1%. The price gain in St. John's followed three months of no change.

Prices were unchanged in 6 of the 21 metropolitan areas surveyed.

For the second consecutive month, prices were unchanged in Vancouver. Builder reports of price increases for the few remaining units in current subdivisions were offset by some builders lowering prices as a result of current market conditions and lower selling prices.

The CMA of Calgary (-0.4%) recorded the largest price decrease in March. The decline was the first since November 2011 and followed two months of no price movement. Builders cited current market conditions and promotional prices to attract sales as the main reasons for the decrease.

Market conditions contributed to a 0.2% price decline in the combined region of Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton, as well as in Saskatoon. The decrease in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton followed three months of no change.

New housing prices also fell in Ottawa–Gatineau, London, Regina and Edmonton, all down 0.1%.

On a year-over-year basis, the NHPI rose 1.2% in March, the smallest annual increase since February 2010.

The combined metropolitan region of Toronto and Oshawa was the top contributor to the annual growth with prices up 2.6% compared with March 2014. This was the largest annual increase since July 2013.

The CMA of Hamilton recorded the largest annual increase in March, with prices up 3.2% compared with the same month last year. Other significant year-over-year increases were reported in Calgary (+2.8%), London (+2.3%) and Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo (+2.1%). This was the smallest annual price increase in Calgary since November 2012.

Among the 21 metropolitan areas surveyed, 7 posted year-over-year price declines in March: Ottawa–Gatineau (-1.4%), Victoria (-1.3%), Regina (-0.8%), the combined metropolitan region of Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton (-0.6%), Vancouver (-0.5%), Saskatoon (-0.2%) and Charlottetown (-0.2%). This was the smallest annual price decline in Vancouver since December 2012.

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