UPDATE 1-Canadian home prices dip in Nov -Teranet

Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:12am EST
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO Dec 12 (Reuters) - Canadian home prices edged down in November in their first decline in nine months, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Thursday, the latest indication the country's housing has cooled from earlier this year.

The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed national prices slipped 0.1 percent last month from October.

The average November monthly gain over 15 years of data has been 0.1 percent, Teranet said. It was the first monthly decline since February.

The housing market cooled last year after Canada's government tightened mortgage rules amid worries that low interest rates were prompting Canadians to take on too much debt.

While the sector has been resilient this year, recent data has been somewhat less robust. New homebuilding slowed slightly last month, while existing home sales declined in October. Economists say worries of rising mortgage rates may have prompted a surge of activity in the summer that is cooling off into the end of the year.

"The slowdown in Canadian housing activity engineered by the government in mid-2012 looks to be a soft landing, as hoped," said Bill Adams, senior international economist for PNC Financial Services Group, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"Canada's decent job market is keeping housing prices resilient, despite higher interest rates and tighter mortgage underwriting standards."   Continued...