Home prices continued to rise in February, but the deceleration of price increases continued as well, according the latest numbers from Statistics Canada.

Prices for new homes in Canada rose 0.3 per cent in February, led by the Toronto and Oshawa region, reported StatsCan’s in its latest New Housing Price Index. On a year-over-year basis, prices were up 2.3 per cent in February, compared with a 2.4 per cent increase the previous month.

“The metropolitan region of Toronto and Oshawa was the top contributor to the increase in February,” said. “The positive impact of this region on the overall index was slightly offset by the decrease observed in Vancouver," said the federal agency.

Prices were unchanged in five of the 21 metropolitan regions tracked by Statistics Canada.

Prices in the Toronto and Oshawa region were up 0.4 per cent in February from the month before. However, the biggest single increase was in Regina, where prices rose 2.4 per cent. Halifax was up 1.2 per cent and St. Catharines–Niagara, Ont., gained 1.1 per cent.

The largest monthly price declines were in Charlottetown, down 0.5 per cent, and the Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton, N.B., off 0.4 per cent. Vancouver was down 0.2 per cent.

On Wednesday, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said housing starts jumped by five per cent in March from the previous month, to 215,600 units.

“The upward movement in March was largely due to an increase in multiple starts, particularly in Ontario and the Prairies,” said Mathieu Laberge, CMHC’s deputy chief economist. “This was partly offset by a decrease in multiple starts in British Columbia and Quebec, while single-detached starts decreased marginally countrywide.”

The annual rate of urban starts increased by 4.2 per cent to 192,100 units in March, CMHC said. While urban single-unit activity slipped 2.4 per cent to 68,000 units, multiple-unit starts were up 8.3 per cent to 124,100.

 

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