Home-resale price index jumps in April

Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:27am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian home resale prices rose in April from March, marking the biggest of five straight month-on-month increases and gaining right across the country, a report on Wednesday said.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes in six metropolitan areas, showed overall prices were up 1.1 percent in April from March.

It was the first time in 10 months that prices rose in all cities surveyed. Housing has been a resilient sector of the Canadian economy, rebounding quickly and steadily after a brief slump early in the financial crisis.

Analysts said the higher prices shown in the last few surveys were fueled by a rush to buy before stricter mortgage rules came into effect in the spring.

"The strong monthly rises of the composite index in the last two months probably come from front-loaded activity preceding the reduction in the maximum amortization period of insured mortgages," said Marc Pinsonneault, senior economist at National Bank Financial.

"Therefore, it should not be a lasting trend."

The advance was led by Vancouver, up 1.8 percent, providing more evidence that the already expensive housing market in the Pacific Coast city has been heating up even more, partly because of an influx of foreign investors.

Prices in Toronto rose 0.7 percent. Big gains were seen in Montreal and Ottawa, up 1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. Halifax rose 0.8 percent, while Calgary reported the smallest gain, up 0.6 percent, its second monthly rise in nine months.

The Teranet figures lag other housing data, such as the closely watched existing home sales report from the Canadian Real Estates Association, which showed a dip in prices in May from April and an continuing shift toward a balanced market.   Continued...

<p>A sign points to a home for sale in a new subdivision in Vancouver, Washington, April 25, 2006. REUTERS/Richard Clement</p>