Prices for new homes in Metro Vancouver remain constant

Metro Vancouver new home prices remained flat in September, while edging up slightly year-over-year, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.

The federal agency said prices of new homes in Metro Vancouver remained the same compared to August, but rose 0.1 per cent from September 2010 to September 2011.

In Victoria, new home prices were also flat in September compared to August, but dropped 1.6 per cent year-over-year.

Nationally, new home prices edged up 0.2 per cent from August to September and 2.3 per cent from September 2010 to September 2011.

Nationally, the price increase followed a 0.1-per-cent gain in August and was the sixth straight monthly increase in the new housing index.

Economists had expected prices to rise by between 0.1 and 0.2 per cent in September.

The Toronto and Oshawa, Ont. region — accounting for 27 per cent of the index — recorded a gain of 0.3 per cent from August to September. The smaller Winnipeg region had the largest percentage increase at 1.4, and Halifax gained 0.7 per cent.

“In Winnipeg, price increases were primarily the result of higher material and labour costs as well as higher land values,” Statistics Canada said. “Builders in Halifax cited higher material and labour costs as the main reason for their price increases.”

Prices were higher in eight of the 21 metropolitan regions surveyed, while five declined and eight were flat.

Among the regions posting declines, the biggest drop from August to September was in the New Brunswick area encompassing Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton, where the index declined 0.3 per cent. The Edmonton area was also down 0.3 per cent.

“Some builders in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton cited slower market conditions as the primary reason for their price decreases, while a few builders in Edmonton moved to new development areas with lower priced lots,” the agency said.

On a year-over-year basis, prices were up 2.3 per cent in September, in line with 12-month increases in July and August.

The biggest 12-month gains in September were in Winnipeg, up 5.5 per cent, and the Toronto and Oshawa region, up 5.4 per cent.

On Tuesday, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported housing starts were down 1.1 per cent to an annualized rate of 207,600 units. That compared to 208,800 the month before, revised up from the previously reported 205,900.

Meanwhile, data last week showed construction intention weakened in September, as the value of building permits declined for the third straight month.

StatsCan said permit values fell 4.9 per cent to $5.6 billion during the month.

Source: Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

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