Canadian home prices see robust gain in April, led by Ottawa-Gatineau

TORONTO, May 20 (Reuters) - Canadian home prices rose in April at a stronger than usual clip for the month, with widespread gains led by the metropolitan markets of Ottawa-Gatineau and Toronto, data showed on Wednesday.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices were up 1.3% in April from March. The index tracks data collected from public land registries.

The price increase in April was double the average gain for the month over the past 10 years, which was also the case in February and March, said Marc Pinsonneault, a senior economist at National Bank of Canada.

Restrictive measures were in place across Canada in April to help contain the coronavirus outbreak but data from land registries could lag the timing of sales transactions.

“We think that most of the sales that were recorded in April in land registries were concluded in previous months,” Pinsonneault said.

Prices rose in 10 of the 11 metropolitan areas in the index, with the national capital region of Ottawa-Gatineau up 2.4% and Toronto, Canada’s most populous metropolitan area, gaining 2.0%. Edmonton was flat.

Compared with the same month a year ago, the index climbed by 5.3%, its strongest pace since May 2018. It was the ninth consecutive month that the year-over-year gain accelerated.

Ottawa-Gatineau was up 13.2% year-over-year, while Montreal and Halifax both gained 9.5%. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Tom Brown)