05/10/2012 10:57 EDT

Canada New House Price Index: March Sees Rise Even As B.C. Cities See Downturn


OTTAWA -- Statistics Canada says new home prices are continuing to rise in most metropolitan areas.

The agency's new housing price index rose 0.3 per cent in March, building on a similar increase the previous month, with Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau, Edmonton and Calgary leading the way.

Over the past year, the new price index was up 2.6 per cent, with Toronto and Oshawa, a community outside Canada's largest city, recording 6.2 per cent increases.

March's index, however, found Vancouver and Victoria, once two of Canada's hottest markets, showing some take-back. The index slipped 0.1 and 0.7 per cent respectively in the month.

Gainers in March included Winnipeg, up 0.7 per cent, Toronto and Oshawa, 0.6; Ottawa-Gatineau, 0.5; Edmonton, 0.4; and Calgary and St. John's, both with 0.3 per cent increases.

The agency says Winnipeg's gain was primarily the result of higher land development costs and increased material and labour costs.

Improved market conditions were most responsible for the increases in most markets.

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