Housing prices in Hamilton rose last month, bucking a downward national trend, according to figures released Friday by the Canadian Real Estate Association.
The number of homes sold across Canada decreased by almost 16 per cent in February compared to a year ago. Similarly, Hamilton's residential sales were down 15.7 per cent last month from February 2012.
But as the average Canadian sale price dipped by about one per cent to $368,895, values in the Hamilton area actually rose. House prices there were up 5.1 per cent year-over-year, and 3.5 per cent from January, to $371,252, according to the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington.
"I think the Hamilton market is doing a little bit better overall," said Bruce Moran, president of the RAHB. Hamilton's relatively low house prices and the "vibrancy of its downtown" are still attracting buyers from Toronto.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said Friday that housing sales have been effectively flat since August, when new government rules making it harder to get a mortgage came into effect.
CREA said almost 80 per cent of local markets posted year-over-year declines in sales activity in February, the most notable exception being Edmonton.
"A rebound in sales in some of Canada's largest and most expensive markets, similar to those we saw following previous mortgage rule changes, has so far remained elusive," CREA president Wayne Moen said.
CREA repeated its warning that the average price figure is being dragged down by a slowdown in activity in one market — Vancouver. If sales from the Greater Vancouver area weren't included, the national average would have shown an increase of 1.3 per cent during the month.