Canada's New Housing Price Index rose 0.1% in January following similar increase in December; increases in Calgary, Vancouver metro regions were offset by decreases in Victoria, St. John's

OTTAWA , March 8, 2012 (press release) – The New Housing Price Index (NHPI) rose 0.1% in January, following a similar increase in December.

The metropolitan regions of Calgary and Vancouver were the top contributors to the increase in January. The positive impact of these regions on the overall index was offset in large part by decreases observed in Victoria and St. John's.

From December to January, Saskatoon (+0.7%) posted the largest monthly price advance, followed by Hamilton (+0.5%) and Ottawa–Gatineau (+0.4%).

In Saskatoon, price increases were primarily the result of increased land values.

In Hamilton and Ottawa–Gatineau, the rise in prices was mostly explained by higher material and labour costs.

In January, prices were unchanged in 9 of the 21 metropolitan regions surveyed.

The most significant monthly price decline was recorded in Victoria (-0.8%) as builders reduced their prices to stimulate sales mostly as a result of slower market conditions.

Year over year, the NHPI was up 2.4%, following a 2.5% increase the previous month. The main contributor to the advance was the metropolitan region of Toronto and Oshawa.

The largest year-over-year price increases were recorded in Toronto and Oshawa (+5.9%), Regina (+5.3%) and Winnipeg (+4.0%).

Other notable year-over-year increases in contractors' selling prices were observed in Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo (+3.7%) and Charlottetown (+3.3%).

Among the 21 metropolitan regions surveyed, 3 posted 12-month price declines in January, with Victoria (-2.4%) posting the largest decrease.

Note: The New Housing Price Index measures changes over time in the selling prices of new residential houses agreed upon between the contractor and the buyer at the time of the signing of the contract. It is designed to measure the changes in the selling prices of new houses where detailed specifications pertaining to each house remain the same between two consecutive periods. The prices collected from builders and included in the index are market selling prices less value added taxes, such as the Federal Goods and Services Tax or the Harmonized Sales Tax.

This release presents data that are not seasonally adjusted and the indexes published are final.

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