Canadian home prices rose in January as values in the hot Toronto market climbed even further, while Vancouver prices picked up after three months of declines, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Tuesday.
The index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed that prices rose 0.5 per cent month to month and 13.0 per cent from a year ago.
It was the 12th consecutive month that national home prices have risen and the largest annual increase since January 2007, growing at their fastest pace post-recession.
The monthly gain was driven by an 0.8 per cent increase in Toronto, which had its 12th straight monthly increase, and a 1.1 per cent rise in nearby Hamilton, where prices have climbed as home buyers were shut out of the expensive Toronto market. Toronto and Hamilton racked up record annual increases of 20.9 per cent and 17.6 per cent, respectively.
"In the eight other metropolitan markets covered, house prices have some way to go just to come back to their previous peak. House prices in Toronto currently grow at the highest 12-month growth rate since the inception of the index. This is mostly due to dwellings other than condos, where supply is notoriously tight," wrote National Bank senior economist Marc Pinsonneault in response to the data. "Given that Toronto is a relatively expensive market, house price growth is weighing on affordability for first time home buyers. This, together with the new rules on qualification for an insured mortgage, should sooner or later take steam out of that market."
Canada's housing market has been robust since the global financial crisis, boosted by low borrowing rates.The government tightened mortgage lending rules late last year to rein in consumer borrowing, a move that is expected to cool housing activity this year.
But recent data has suggested the housing market was off to a strong start in 2017. Indeed, the rise in the Teranet index signaled that prices have doubled since June 2005.
Prices in Vancouver rose 0.3 per cent on the month, suggesting the once-hot market could be perking back up. The provincial government imposed a tax on foreign home buyers in the city last year to address affordability issues, which took some steam out of the market.
Prices in Vancouver were up 16.4 per cent from a year earlier, but 2.5 per cent below the peak reached in September 2016, Teranet said.
Overall, prices were up in seven of the 11 markets surveyed. In addition to Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton, prices rose from a month earlier in Montreal, Victoria, Calgary and Quebec City, while prices in Halifax were flat.
Prices fell in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Edmonton.
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