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Canadian home prices hit decade low for growth

Increases in Canadian home prices haven’t been this sluggish since Canada’s housing market was withering in the wake of the Great Recession.

So suggests the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index, which is based off property records from public land registries.

In June, the composite index measuring price changes in 11 major markets, showed an increase of 0.5 percent year-over-year, the smallest such gain since November 2009.

The Bank of Canada had declared the end of a recession July that same year.

National Bank Senior Economist Marc Pinsonneault traces the latest national decline to four underperforming markets concentrated in Western Canada.

“The national HPI was dragged down by 12-month home price declines in Western Canada metropolitan areas (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg) and a tiny increase in Victoria,” Pinsonneault notes.

Vancouver’s annual price decline of 4.9 percent was the largest of any metro area, while Calgary and Edmonton followed at 3.8 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. Winnipeg prices were down 0.4 percent.

The remaining six markets captured by the composite index posted gains ranging from 1.5 percent in Quebec City up to 6.3 percent in Ottawa–Gatineau, a census area that is currently peaking.

In Toronto, the biggest real estate market in the country, prices remained 2.8 percent above year-ago levels, although 2.1 percent off the July 2017 peak.

In a response to the latest index reading, one economist forecasts Vancouver is going to remain a drag.

“That will hold back house price inflation across the country, even if it picks up further in the other cities,” writes Stephen Brown, senior Canada Economist at the UK-headquartered research firm Capital Economics.

“The bigger test will come if the labour market weakens as we expect, causing home sales to drop back again,” he continues.

---Josh Sherman, LIVABL