Canadian home prices rise in August as market shows signs of firming

FILE PHOTO: A real estate sign is seen hanging on a fence in front of a house for sale in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian home prices rose in August, led by the Victoria and Ottawa-Gatineau markets, with the pace of the advance just shy of the average gain for the month as the housing market showed signs of picking up, data showed on Friday.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which tracks data collected from public land registries to measure changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices were up 0.6% in August from July. The average gain for the month over the past 22 years was 0.7%.

The number of repeat sales used to derive indexes was down 1.3% year-over-year, showing some recovery after being down more than 20% in the prior three months.

The gain is a sign of firming markets “which echoes the revival of homes sales reported by the Canadian Real Estate Association in June after severe slowdowns in previous months due to COVID-19,” said Marc Pinsonneault, a senior economist at the National Bank of Canada.

Prices rose in 10 of the 11 metropolitan areas in the index, with the Victoria region, in the province of British Columbia, up 2.3% and the government hub of Ottawa-Gatineau gaining 2.2%. The index was flat for Calgary.

Compared with the same month a year ago, the index climbed 5.7%, a faster pace than in July.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Dan Grebler