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(Corrects annual change to 2.3 pct higher from lower)
* December +0.2 pct, November +0.1 pct
* Forecast for December was +0.1 pct
* Index excludes condo market, which had been heated
OTTAWA, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Prices of new homes in Canada rose by 0.2 percent in December following a 0.1 percent rise in November, and ended the year 2.3 percent higher than December 2011, according to Statistics Canada data released on Thursday.
The Canadian government, which imposed tighter mortgage rules in July, and the Bank of Canada have long expressed concerns the housing market might overheat.
The new housing price index however excludes condominiums, which the government has said were a particular cause for concern.
Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio