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Home prices to track inflation: CMHC

Average house prices are expected to stay on par with inflation over the next two years, the Canada Mortgage and Housing says.

Average house prices are expected to stay on par with inflation over the next two years, the Canada Mortgage and Housing said Thursday in its first-quarter outlook.

"The existing home market will remain in the balanced to sellers' market range in 2011 and 2012," CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said in a release.

The CMHC predicts the existing home market across Canada in 2011 and 2012 will range between being balanced between supply and demand to leaning slightly towards a sellers' market. ((Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press))

"As a result, growth in the average [Multiple Listing Service] price is expected to remain in line with economy-wide inflation in 2011 and 2012," he said.

Earlier this month, CMHC reported housing starts for 2010 totalled 189,930.

The new outlook called for housing starts to be in the range of 157,300 to 192,900 units in 2011. The agency's point forecast — its best guess at an exact number — was 177,600 units.

In 2012, housing starts will be in the range of 154,600 to 211,200 units, it said, with a point forecast of 183,800 units.

"Modest economic growth will continue to push employment levels higher this year and next," said Dugan.

"This, in conjunction with relatively low mortgage rates, will continue to support demand for new homes. Housing starts will remain in line with long term (population growth) over the course of 2011 and 2012," said Dugan.

The national housing agency predicted existing home sales will be in the range of 398,500 to 485,500 units in 2011, with a point forecast of 441,500 units.

In 2012, existing home sales would move up, it estimated, to be in the range of 406,300 to 519,700, with a point forecast of 462,900.

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