BUSINESS
01/16/2018 12:34 EST | Updated 01/19/2018 09:37 EST

Your House Price Vs. The Markets: Which One Did Better In 2017?

In Toronto, you would have been better off with a savings account.

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Rowhouses on a residential street in Toronto's east end. Toronto house prices failed to beat stocks, bonds and savings accounts in 2017, according to numbers crunched by Zoocasa.

Sorry, Toronto homeowners, but chances are you didn't beat the markets on your house this year. In fact, a nice stock or bond portfolio would have given you better returns over the past year than Toronto real estate.

Not so for residents of Vancouver, where real estate handily beat stocks and bonds over the past year.

That's according to numbers crunched by real estate portal Zoocasa. They looked at the change in the average house price across cities in Canada over the past year, and compared it to Canadian stocks, Canadian bonds, and the most conservative investment instrument: A high-interest savings account, which this past year would have paid out no more than 1 per cent.

What they found was mixed results: In some cities, housing handily beat all other investments; in others, you would have been better off with that one-per-cent savings account.

Toronto is one of the cities where a savings account would have been better. The average house price in the city is up just 0.6 per cent from a year earlier, in the wake of new provincial housing rules that took the steam out of the market in mid-2017.

It's a different story in Vancouver, where housing seems to have rebounded from a slump in 2016. Real estate there handily beat all those classes of investment. The average house price was up 10.7 per cent in December, from a year earlier, beating the Toronto Stock Exchange (up 5.2 per cent) and Canadian bonds (up 2.4 per cent).

Many prairie cities are experiencing weakness in their housing markets, the result of a prolonged economic slump linked to low oil prices. Calgary, Regina and Saskatoon were all among the cities to see falling house prices over the past year.

Residents of Montreal, Quebec City and Winnipeg beat the bond markets, but house prices there underperformed the stock markets.

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One thing to note is that it also depends on what sort of home you own. For instance, Toronto detached home owners saw their house values drop by about 2.5 per cent over the past year, but the condo segment did much better, with prices in Greater Toronto up 14.4 per cent in a year.

So who were the biggest winners? That would be residents of some cities in southern Ontario, which are experiencing a spillover from Toronto's (until recently) hot housing market. Average house prices are up 36.2 per cent in Windsor, Ont., and 21.3 per cent in the Niagara Region. Congratulations, winners of the housing lottery!

Of course, few people are going to be dumping their homes in exchange for stock portfolios. After all, housing is a necessity. So does it even make sense to look at the housing market this way?

"Return on investment is of great interest to homeowners and (we) aren't suggesting that they instead invest in stocks or high-interest savings accounts," Zoocasa spokesperson Mark Bernhardt said in an email to HuffPost Canada.

"The sage advice is to let your individual financial and lifestyle situation govern your home purchase or selling decision, rather than seeking pure returns," Zoocasa advises on its website.

But if you happen to make a healthy return on your investment, well, that doesn't hurt, does it?

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