Home Prices Continue Upward Progress

A major bank measurement revealed Thursday that the Canadian real estate market got off to a good start this year with house prices rising in January, as Toronto saw its first gain in six months.

The Teranet-National Bank composite house price index rose 0.3% last month from December and gained 8.7% in January from a year ago, up from a 0.2% monthly gain in December, but down from the 9.1% yearly rise that month.

The index measures changes in resales of single-family homes, and each month's reading is a rolling three-month average to smooth out monthly fluctuations in price.

However, only four of the 11 major cities measured on the index saw price increases last month. Toronto was one of the climbers — rising 0.2% from December — marking its first gain since the middle of last year.

Toronto's housing market pulled back last year after Ontario implemented a series of measures such as restricting foreign buyers to cool the once red-hot market.

Last week, data from the Toronto Real Estate Board showed the average selling price of a detached home in Toronto fell almost 4% in January from a year ago.

The National Bank index reading of an 8.4% gain in Toronto from a year ago is still below the national average.

Meanwhile, Vancouver, Victoria and Montreal were the other three cities on the index that also saw prices rise.

House prices in Vancouver rose 1.2%, making it the main contributor to the index.