Canada's New Housing Price Index unchanged in March following February's 0.4% rise; prices are up 1.9% year-over-year

OTTAWA , May 12, 2011 (press release) – The New Housing Price Index (NHPI) was unchanged in March following a 0.4% advance in February. Monthly increases in some metropolitan regions were offset by decreases in other regions resulting in no change to the Canada level index.

Between February and March, prices rose the most in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton (+0.4%) followed by the metropolitan regions of Toronto and Oshawa, Winnipeg and Regina (all three registering increases of 0.3%).

In Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton as well as in Toronto and Oshawa, builders reported that price increases were a result of improving market conditions.

In Winnipeg, the increases were primarily due to higher material and labour costs, while in Regina, higher land development fees contributed to the rise in prices.

The most significant monthly price decreases were recorded in Québec (-0.7%), Windsor (-0.6%) and Edmonton (-0.2%).

In Québec and Edmonton, some builders reported that the decreases were attributable to lower land costs. Slower market conditions caused builders in Windsor to reduce their prices.

Year over year, the NHPI was up 1.9% in March following a 2.1% increase in February.

The main contributors to the year-over-year increase of the NHPI in March were the metropolitan regions of Toronto and Oshawa as well as Montréal.

The largest year-over-year increase was observed in St. John's (+6.2%), followed closely by Regina (+6.1%).

Compared with March 2010, contractors' selling prices were also higher in Winnipeg (+4.5%) as well as in Toronto and Oshawa (+3.6%).

Windsor (-4.6%), London (-1.7%), Greater Sudbury and Thunder Bay (-1.3%) and Victoria (-1.2%) posted 12-month declines in March.

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