Daily Market Update

Single-family home prices drop in almost half of cities
There was a slight drop in Canada’s house prices in December, according to the latest Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index. Repeat sales of single-family homes slipped by 0.2 per cent from the month earlier. Five of the 11 cities studied saw declining prices. Halifax had the largest drop (1.9 per cent), followed by Calgary (1.1 per cent), Quebec (1.0 per cent), Montreal (0.9 per cent) and Vancouver (0.4 per cent). There were increases for Toronto (0.3 per cent), Edmonton (0.2 per cent), Hamilton (0.1 per cent) and Ottawa (0.1 per cent). Prices in Winnipeg and Victoria were unchanged. Annually there were increases in all cities except Quebec and Halifax and the national increase was 4.9 per cent. Read the full story
Effect of oil prices can’t be ignored says Royal LePage
Home prices will increase by around 2.9 per cent nationally but the slowdown in the oil industry is likely to mean more than one provincial story. Royal LePage has published its latest House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast for 2015 and sounds a largely optimistic note, but CEO Phil Soper says:  “In the immediate term we anticipate that the natural slowing of home price appreciation we called for in the third quarter of 2014 will be delayed in Central Canada and accelerated in the West by recent developments in the energy sector.” While oil may cause some weaker conditions for the western provinces, the report predicts that it will help some other areas. Royal LePage predicts that the Greater Toronto Area will benefit from the largest major market price increases. For buyers, the slowdown in prices in the west will allow some respite from the large rises seen in the last year, although Soper doesn’t expect that to last. “Over the longer term, we foresee a return to regional home price appreciation that is above both the historical average and national trends in general, when energy markets recover.” The report notes that there are still ongoing threats to the stability of the housing market, including interest rate rises but also consumer confidence. Read the full story
CREB: Calgary sales to ease by four per cent
The volume of home sales in Calgary is predicted to ease by four per cent this year due to economic uncertainty but prices will remain “relatively stable.” That’s according to the Calgary Real Estate Board, which notes that employment levels and net migration may reduce its forecast of 24,503 sales in the city this year. CREB chief economist Anne Marie Lurie commented that things are not expected to hit the lows of the financial crisis. “With economic indicators remaining more positive in this period, the pullback in housing is not expected to mirror activity during the 2009-2010 period.” She also noted that last year’s sales activity was almost 15 per cent higher than long-term trends, while this year will be more in line with the trend. There is also expected to be greater supply across all price ranges and property types, giving buyers a better choice but sellers may have to be prepared to lower expectations. 

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