Sunday, July 18, 2010

Are housing prices falling in major urban markets in Canada?

A quick answer is yes. However, a detailed look at the graph below, which presents a month-by-month account of seasonally adjusted housing prices in the major urban markets in Canada, suggests that housing prices have faltered as of April 2010 in three major urban markets, namely Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton, which have also pushed the overall average housing price in Canada lower in the recent months.

The graph presents seasonally adjusted housing prices for the major urban markets in Canada including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto, Montreal (truncated), and the average value for Canada.

The most inflated housing market in Canada is that of Vancouver, which is going strong and is only $30,000 shy of reaching the $700,000 average housing price landmark. Since March 2009, the Vancouver housing market has appreciated by $172,000. This is certainly an unsustainable pace of price appreciation. At $11,450 per month in average price appreciation the housing market in Vancouver has certainly outpaced any growth or gain in wages. Thus, a mild decline in housing prices in Vancouver should be forthcoming unless offshore investors yet again bailout the inflated prices in Vancouver.

The average annual price appreciation in Toronto at $6,700 from February 2009 to March 2010 is certainly much less hyped than the one observed in Vancouver. Housing price losses should therefore be milder in Toronto than in Vancouver.

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