02/05/2014 12:44 EST | Updated 04/07/2014 05:59 EDT

House prices still rising in Toronto, Vancouver

There seems to be no end in sight to the housing bubble in two of Canada's largest cities, with the real estate boards of Toronto and Vancouver reporting year-on-year price increases of two to 12 per cent for January.

In Toronto, the average selling price for a home in January was $526,528 – up by more than nine per cent from a year earlier.

On the west coast, the benchmark price for all residential properties rose 3.2 per cent since January 2013 to $606,800. Detached homes in Vancouver were fetching $929,700 on average last month, a 3.2 per cent increase over the previous year. Apartment properties averaged $371,500, a 3.7 per cent increase over 2013.

Sales of residential properties in Greater Vancouver were up by more than 30 per cent over January 2013 although not as strong as in December, which saw sales rise 7.2 per cent above the 10-year average for the month.

There were 5,345 new listings for Vancouver on the MLS listing service last month, a 4.2 per cent increase over the same time last year.

Toronto's market saw fewer new listings in January than last year, with 8,822 properties in the Greater Toronto Area listed on MLS, a decrease of 16.6 per cent. Sales were down 2.2 per cent over January 2013. But that did not stop prices from continuing to rise in all property categories.

Detached homes were selling for 12 per cent more than in January 2013 while the prices of condominium apartments were up 9.7 per cent and semi-detached homes saw a 6.6 per cent increase.

Toronto Real Estate Board president Dianne Usher said the seemingly unstoppable upward trend in prices could drive some people to unload their properties.

"Looking forward, it is possible that strong price growth, and therefore an increase in home equity, will act as a trigger for more households to list their homes for sale," she said in a news release Wednesday.

Usher doesn't foresee the pace of growth in prices slowing any time this year.

"Similar to last year, competition between buyers for singles, semis and town homes in the city of Toronto and surrounding regions will continue to exert upward pressure on selling prices,' she said.  

Still, Usher argues that even at current levels, price doesn't necessarily have to be an impediment for people looking to enter the housing market.

"Mortgage rates will remain near historic lows, so despite strong price growth, home ownership will remain affordable for the average household in the GTA," she said.