Average Canadian home now costs more than $500,000, CREA says

The average Canadian home costs more than $500,000 for the first time ever, the Canadian Real Estate Association says.
Sales figures show that average home prices in Canada have increased by 16 per cent in the last year. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

The average Canadian home is now worth more than $500,000 for the first time ever.

Monthly sales data from the Canadian Real Estate Association released Tuesday show the average price of a Canadian home was $503,057 in February. That's an increase of more than 16 per cent from the same month a year ago.

But the national average belies what's happening in large parts of the country. Two big markets in Vancouver and Toronto are red hot, while the rest of Canada's housing market is either slowly inching higher, or in some cases declining.

"All of the markets currently in seller's territory (which make up just under half of Canadian markets) are found these two provinces," TD Bank economist Diana Petramala said.

If Ontario and British Columbia are stripped out, the average price of a Canadian home sold in February was $291,510. That's a decline of 1.4 per cent from 12 months earlier.

"The number of single family home sales above one million dollars is rising in Greater Vancouver and the GTA," CREA's chief economist Gregory Klump said. "If recent trends continue, home sales above $1 million will account for a greater share of activity and will further fuel year-over-year average price increases in these markets."

Hot markets in two of Canada's three biggest markets are skewing the numbers, and making the focus on the "national average" irrelevant, BMO economist Doug Porter said.

"The Canadian housing market remains a tale of three solitudes," he said Tuesday, "the uber-strength in Vancouver and Toronto (and surrounding cities in both regions), ice-cold conditions in markets exposed to oil prices, and the just-right middle markets in almost every other region."