Tale of two cities defies Canada's 'soft landing'

Strong Canadian house price gains are now purely a two-city phenomenon, while a "soft landing" is underway across the rest of the country.

"While Canadian national home prices are pushing record highs, performance varies widely below the surface," wrote Robert Kavcic, senior economist at BMO in a monthly report.

"The so-called 'soft landing' (harder in Alberta and Saskatchewan) is well underway across most of the country."

For instance, numbers released by the Calgary Real Estate Board last week showed that low sales and elevated inventory levels in the first three months of 2015 had caused unadjusted benchmark prices to ease by 0.44 per cent in March, relative to the previous month, for a total average price of $454,300.

In his most recent Focus Report, Kavcic wrote that, while average Canadian prices are up five per cent in the past year based on the MLS Home Prices Index, the strongest gains have been entirely a tale of two cities: Toronto and Vancouver.

According to figures released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver last week, the benchmark price for a detached property was up 11.2 per cent to $1.05 million.

"But even within Toronto and Vancouver, strong gains are driven in sub-markets for detached homes, as condo prices continue to rise slightly below the national average," wrote Kavcic in the BMO report. "This reflects supply and demand fundamentals at work."

To find out more details about current average house prices across Canada, check out CREW's free online investment hotspot tool.

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