UPDATE 1-Jan Canada new home prices decline for first time in 4-1/2 yrs

Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:36am EDT
 
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OTTAWA, March 12 (Reuters) - New home prices in Canada slipped by 0.1 percent in January, the first decline at the national level since July 2010, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

That was short of economists' expectations for a gain of 0.1 percent. The combined area of Toronto and Oshawa was the top contributor, with prices down 0.1 percent, the first decline for the region since July of last year.

The area's decrease was due to lower negotiated sales prices as builders offered promotional packages to boost sales. Still, that was moderated by some reports of higher prices due to market conditions and increased land costs.

Prices declined in five of the 21 metropolitan areas included in the index, while five increased. Prices were unchanged in 11 regions, including oil-sensitive Calgary.

The new housing price index excludes apartments and condominiums, which the government says are a particular cause for concern and which account for one-third of new housing.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)