Canadian home prices rose at a brisk pace in March, led by the capital region of Ottawa-Gatineau, data showed on Monday, even as measures taken to contain the coronavirus outbreak pummelled economic activity.
The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices were up 0.6 per cent in March from February.
The price gain was double the average rise for March over the past 10 years, said Marc Pinsonneault, a senior economist at National Bank of Canada.
Prices rose in seven of the 11 metropolitan areas in the index, with Ottawa-Gatineau up 1.1 per cent and Vancouver climbing by 1 per cent.
Compared with the same month a year ago, the index climbed by 3.8 per cent, its strongest pace since June, 2018. It was the eighth consecutive month that the year-over-year gain accelerated.
The Bank of Canada has slashed interest rates by 150 basis points since the start of March to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but mortgage rates have not fallen as much due to strains in financial markets. (One hundred basis points equal one percentage point.)
Data this week from the Canadian Real Estate Association showed that buyers and sellers in the housing market moved to the sidelines over the second half of March. Also this week, a flash estimate from Statistics Canada showed that Canada’s economy shrank a record 9 per cent in March from the previous month.
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