OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says its new housing price index rose 0.2 per cent in April, following a 0.1 per cent increase in March and similar gains over the last 12 months.
The agency says Calgary was the top contributor to the national advance for the third consecutive month, as prices for new homes rose 0.5 per cent in April.
"Builders reported that higher material and labour costs as well as market conditions were the main reasons for higher prices," Statistics Canada said.
The largest monthly price advance occurred in St. John's, N.L., where prices rose 1.0 per cent, following eight consecutive months of little or no change.
"This was the largest price movement in St. John's since November 2010, when new housing prices rose 4.3 per cent. Since then, prices have been relatively flat, despite a few modest gains over the summer of 2012."
Hamilton followed closely, with prices for new homes rising by 0.8 per cent — the largest month-to-month increase in that area since October 2012.
Prices rose 0.6 per cent in Winnipeg and 0.3 per cent in Saskatoon and 0.1 per cent higher in Quebec City, Toronto-Oshawa, Ottawa-Gatineau, Vancouver and Victoria.
Prices were 0.1 per cent lower from March to April in Montreal and the region including the New Brunswick cities of Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton.
"Builders in the region of Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton reported lower prices as a result of market conditions, while builders in Montréal lowered prices to finalize sales," Statistics Canada said.
Builders reported that prices were unchanged in five regions surveyed — Halifax and four regional markets in Ontario including Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo.
On a year-over-year basis, the national index was up 2.0 per cent in April following a similar increase in March. The biggest contributor to the increase over the last year has been in the Toronto-Oshawa region, but the 12-month increase there in April was just 2.9 per cent.
Several smaller markets saw larger 12-month increases in April: Winnipeg's gain was 5.5 per cent, the highest in the country for the fifth consecutive month. Calgary's advanced 4.7 per cent and Regina was up 3.1 per cent
Only Victoria (down 1.5 per cent) and Vancouver (down 0.6 per cent) showed 12-month declines among the 21 markets surveyed.