May 11, 2009

Canadian new home prices fall 0.5 percent

Prices of new homes in Canada fell 0.5 percent from the previous month and 2.4 percent from the same month a year earlier, the government said Monday.

The March decline was the new housing price index's sixth straight month-over-month drop and the third straight month for year-over-year declines, Statistics Canada said.

The index measures new house and land prices in 21 metropolitan areas.

The biggest annual index drops were in Edmonton, Alberta, at 12.3 percent; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, at 11.2 percent; Calgary, Alberta, at 8.7 percent; and Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, at 7.8 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively, the agency said.

Statistics Canada attributed the Edmonton and Calgary declines to lower material and labor costs and lower lot prices from developers, while in Vancouver and Victoria builders reported lower prices due to competition and slow market conditions.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said the average home price in Canada was $288,641 in March, down 9.5 percent from a year earlier.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank's weighted index put national home prices 8.1 percent lower in March than a year earlier.