Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cost of new home takes biggest jump in months

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The cost of buying a new home in Winnipeg took its biggest jump in eight months in January, new Statistics Canada data show.

The agency said Thursday Winnipeg's new-housing price index climbed 0.5 per cent from December to January. It was the biggest monthly increase since May of last year. In the eight months since then, monthly price changes had fluctuated between zero and 0.2 per cent.

Statistics Canada attributed the January increase to local homebuilders moving to new phases of development that have higher land-development costs.

Winnipeg went through a stretch in 2012 and in the first half of 2013, when new-home costs were rising at one of the fastest paces in the country due to escalating costs for both land and building materials. But those inflationary pressures eased in the second half of last year, which led to smaller monthly price gains.

Manitoba Home Builders Association president Mike Moore said Thursday January's bigger increase was likely a temporary thing, rather than the start of a new round of sizable price hikes.

"I looked at the March (Spring) Parade of Homes and the prices are quite flat. So I don't see prices going up over an extended time period."

Winnipeg's January increase was the third largest among the 21 Canadian cities surveyed. The only cities with bigger monthly price hikes were Saskatoon and Calgary, at 1.4 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.

The year-over-year price increase for Winnipeg was 2.5 per cent -- fifth-highest in the country. Calgary had the biggest 12-month gain, at seven per cent.

Nationally, the cost of buying a new home was up 0.3 per cent from December and 1.5 per cent from January of last year, Statistics Canada said.

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 14, 2014 B8

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