House prices down in December, but is it just the time of year?

House prices declined for the second consecutive month in December, but is this just an indication of real estate’s slowest months of the year?

Teranet-National Bank’s House Price Index showed an overall 0.2 per cent decline, but also stated that, in the past five years, price drops in November and December have been frequent.

According to the report, house prices were down in five of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed: Halifax (−1.9 per cent), Calgary (−1.1 per cent), Quebec City (−1.0 per cent), Montreal (−0.9 per cent) and Vancouver (−0.4 per cent).

The indexes for Victoria and Winnipeg were flat, while prices were up in Toronto (0.3 per cent), Edmonton (0.2 per cent), Ottawa-Gatineau (0.1 per cent) and Hamilton (0.1 per cent).

In fact, Hamilton house prices reached a new record in December, in line with national reports that Hamilton will be one of the country’s hottest property markets in 2015.

With a 12-month rise of 7.8 per cent, Hamilton was one of four markets that saw an increase in house prices well above the countrywide average in 2014.

Calgary house prices experienced a rise of 8.3 per cent, while Edmonton house prices increased 5.8 per cent and Toronto house prices increased 7.2 per cent.

The 12-month rise was closer to the average in Vancouver (five per cent) but lagged it in Victoria (3.2 per cent) and Winnipeg (1.5 per cent).

Montreal (0.3 per cent) and Ottawa-Gatineau (+0.1 per cent) showed minimal gains, while prices were down from a year earlier in Quebec City (−0.8 per cent) and Halifax (−2.5 per cent).

Find out more about current house prices in cities and neighbourhoods across Canada with CREW’s Investment Hot Spots tool.

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