One challenge in planning your move to Canada is working out house prices.
Five of Canada’s largest real estate boards – Calgary, Fraser Valley, Montreal, Toronto and Greater Vancouver –and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) are partnering to develop a national housing price index. It’s scheduled to launch at the end of January 2012.
In Vancouver and the Fraser Valley we are used to using benchmark prices from the MLS®Link Housing Price Index. Not surprising as it was the first of its kind in Canada, dating back to 1995.
The new MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) will extend our ability to compare prices to the participating markets.
The new HPI will be looking at four categories of property:
- one-storey single-family homes
- two-storey single-family homes
- townhouse/row units
- apartment units
The benchmark is a better measure of prices over time because it uses concrete attributes, like number of rooms, and qualitative ones, such as a finished basement. Price changes calculated using this method are less volatile compared to those calculated using average or median prices, which can swing dramatically in response to changes in the proportion of high-end or low-end sales over time.
The HPI will also allow for the identification of benchmark homes, with a set of quantitative and qualitative attributes that do not change over time. This allows for an apples-to-apples comparison of price over time.
All that means that if you are looking at different destinations in Canada you will be able to compare prices for similar benchmark properties.