Canada new home prices flat in March

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 May, 2015, 6:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 May, 2015, 6:00am

New home prices in Canada were unchanged in March as prices in the oil-sensitive city of Calgary saw their first decline in more than three years, data from Statistics Canada showed.

The national figure fell shy of economists' expectations for a gain of 0.1 per cent. Compared with a year ago, prices rose 1.2 per cent, the slowest pace of growth since February 2010.

Canada has seen a robust housing market since the global financial crisis, partly helped by low interest rates. While there are some concerns about the prospect of a painful correction, most economists and policymakers still expect a gradual softening.

In Calgary, prices fell 0.4 per cent, the first decline since November 2011 after two months of no price change. Builders said the decrease was partly due to promotions needed to attract sales.

Prices were unchanged in Vancouver for the second month in a row, while Toronto saw the biggest gain in nearly a year with prices up 0.4 per cent. The major cities of Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary are often viewed as being separate from the national housing picture.

The new housing price index excludes apartments and condominiums, which the government says are a particular cause for concern and which account for one-third of new housing.