Canadian house prices fall 0.2 percent in October from September

Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:54am EST
 
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian home prices dipped in October from September and year-over-year price gains slowed for the 11th straight month in yet another sign Canada's hot housing market has cooled, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Wednesday.

The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed overall prices fell 0.2 percent in October from a month earlier, only the third October drop in 13 years of data.

"Today's report provides additional evidence that macroprudential regulations are helping to slow housing demand and is consistent with last week's existing-home sales report," Mazen Issa, Canada Macro Strategist at TD Securities said in a research note.

With further moderation in the housing market expected into the end of the year and into 2013, Issa said the pressure for hawkish monetary policy continues to ease.

"With tighter mortgage regulations proving to be effective thus far, the Bank of Canada will have slightly more breathing room to stay on the sidelines and observe how key global events unfold in the very near-term," he wrote.

The long run-up in Canadian house prices and low supply in some markets had sparked concern a housing bubble was forming. The federal government has tightened mortgage lending rules four times in four years to try to prevent borrowers from taking on too much debt to buy into the market.

Those tighter lending rules have been offset by historically low interest rates, which are expected to stay low into 2013.

The report showed prices were down on the month in seven of 11 urban markets surveyed. Prices fell 0.9 percent in Quebec City, 0.6 percent in Victoria and Toronto, 0.4 percent in Ottawa, 0.3 percent in Montreal, 0.2 percent in Calgary and 0.1 percent in Halifax.   Continued...