The average price of a home fell for the sixth straight month, according to the Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price Index.
It’s the first time prices fell in March, apart from the financial crisis in 2009, in the index’s 20 year history. The average price dipped 0.3 per cent compared to April.
Prices were down in seven of the 11 metropolitan markets included in the index. Ottawa-Gatineau fell the furthest (-1.5 per cent), followed by Victoria (-1.1 per cent). Vancouver and Calgary were tied (-0.5 per cent).
Four markets were up: Halifax (0.8 per cent), Quebec City (0.5 per cent), Edmonton (0.4 per cent) and Montreal (0.1 per cent).
Most major markets have been trending lower for months. It was the ninth straight month without a rise in Calgary, the eighth for Vancouver, and the sixth for Victoria. Edmonton broke the trend in March but it follows six consecutive months of declines. Toronto has fallen in five of the last seven months.
Montreal continues to buck the national trend. It has fallen only once in the last 12 months.
Despite the rough patch, only Calgary (-2.8 per cent) and Vancouver (-2.1 per cent) are down from a year earlier.
The national average price fell 1.7 per cent from its 2018 peak.
The price declines could bring more buyers into the market, but Capital Economics doesn’t think prices will shoot back up.
“There is a larger amount of supply set to hit the market this year in the likes of Toronto and Vancouver, which could lift new listings, and if we’re right that economic growth will remain below potential this year, then home sales are unlikely to rebound any time soon,” said Stephen Brown, in a research note.
“It, therefore, seems unlikely that house price inflation will rebound strongly, if at all, in the coming months.”
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains