UPDATE 1-Canada house prices fall in December from Nov-Teranet

Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:50am EST
 
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* Prices down in December from November in 8 of 11 markets

* Fourth straight monthly decline

* Prices up 3.1 percent from a year ago, lowest rate in 3 years

By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Canadian home prices fell in December from November and year-over-year price gains were the lowest in three years as Canada's housing market continued to cool, 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 0.4 percent in December from a month earlier, the fourth straight monthly decline, a first outside of a recession, and the fourth December monthly decline in 13 years of data.

The index was up 3.1 percent from a year earlier, the 13th consecutive month of deceleration in 12-month inflation and the lowest rate in three years.

The report adds to recent evidence that Canadian housing market activity has been slowing steadily since the middle of 2012. Economists are now debating whether the market will crash or manage a soft landing.

Canada's housing market avoided a meltdown in the wake of the financial crisis in 2009, helped by the country's conservative lending standards. Ultra-low interest rates then helped fuel a post-crisis boom.   Continued...