Home Prices Flat in March

April 14, 2014

In March the Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index™ was essentially unchanged from the previous month. Except for the recession year 2009, this is the first time in 15 years of index data collection that home prices for Canada as a whole have failed to advance in March. However, the story varied widely from east to west. In all five metropolitan markets west of Ontario, prices were up from the month before: Calgary (1.4%), Vancouver (0.6%), Edmonton and Victoria (0.4%) and Winnipeg (0.2%). Prices were also up in Halifax (0.8%), though not enough to make up the pronounced declines of the previous three months. In Toronto and Quebec City prices were flat. In the remaining markets prices were down from February: 1.8% in Montreal, 0.7% in Hamilton and 0.6% in Ottawa-Gatineau. For this last market it was the seventh consecutive monthly decrease, for a cumulative decline of 3.5%. Prices have fallen in four of the last six months in Hamilton (cumulative decline of 2.0% over the period) and in six of the last eight months in Montreal (cumulative decline 3.0%) and Quebec City (cumulative decline 3.4%). Halifax home prices were down 4.9% from nine months ago.

Teranet – National Bank National Composite House Price Index™

Since in March 2013 the index was up from the month before, the flat reading of March 2014 resulted in a deceleration of 12 month home price inflation, to 4.6% from 5.0%. It was the first time in nine months that 12-month inflation has slowed. The gain from a year earlier was higher than the cross-country average in Calgary (9.7%), Vancouver (7.6%), Toronto (5.8%), Hamilton (5.2%) and Edmonton (4.7%). It was below the average in Winnipeg (3.4%) and Victoria (0.2%). For Victoria it was the first time in 13 months that home prices were up from a year earlier. Meanwhile, all the markets east of Toronto surveyed for the index were down from a year earlier, Montreal (−0.7%) for the first time since November 1996, Quebec City (−2.4%) for a second straight month, and Ottawa-Gatineau (−1.2%) and Halifax (−4.2%) for a third straight month.

Teranet – National Bank House Price Index™

The historical data of the Teranet – National Bank House Price Index™ is available at www.housepriceindex.ca.


Metropolitan areaIndex level
March
% change m/m% change y/y
Calgary176.721.4 %9.7 %
Edmonton173.820.4 %4.7 %
Halifax136.830.8 %-4.2 %
Hamilton144.92-0.7 %5.2 %
Montreal147.24-1.8 %-0.7 %
Ottawa138.48-0.6 %-1.2 %
Quebec173.540.0 %-2.4 %
Toronto154.630.0 %5.8 %
Vancouver179.620.6 %7.6 %
Victoria135.270.4 %0.2 %
Winnipeg195.230.2 %3.4 %
National Composite 6 159.68 0.0 % 5.0 %
National Composite 11 160.42 0.0 % 4.6 %

The Teranet–National Bank House Price Index™ is estimated by tracking observed or registered home prices over time using data collected from public land registries. All dwellings that have been sold at least twice are considered in the calculation of the index. This is known as the repeat sales method; a complete description of the method is given at www.housepriceindex.ca

The Teranet–National Bank House Price Index™ is an independently developed representation of average home price changes in six metropolitan areas: Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax. The national composite index is the weighted average of the six metropolitan areas. The weights are based on aggregate value of dwellings as retrieved from the 2006 Statistics Canada Census. According to that census1, the aggregate value of occupied dwellings in the metropolitan areas covered by the indices was $1.168 trillion, or 53% of the Canadian aggregate value of $2.207 trillion. 

All indices have a base value of 100 in June 2005. For example, an index value of 130 means that home prices have increased 30% since June 2005.

By:

Marc Pinsonneault
Senior Economist
Economics & Strategy Group
National Bank of Canada

Teranet - National Bank House Price Index™ thanks the author for their special collaboration on this report. 

1 Value of Dwelling for the Owner-occupied Non-farm, Non-reserve Private Dwellings of Canada.