UPDATE 1-Canada home prices rise in June, spurred by Toronto

Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:35am EDT
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(Adds data on individual markets, background)

OTTAWA Aug 13 (Reuters) - New home prices in Canada rose by the most in nearly a year in June, driven by increases in Toronto, while prices in oil-hit Calgary climbed for the first time this year, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

The new housing price index rose by 0.3 percent, the biggest monthly increase since August 2014 and topping economists' forecasts for a gain of 0.1 percent. Compared with the year before, prices were up 1.3 percent.

The Toronto and Oshawa area was the biggest contributor, rising 0.6 percent on the month for the largest gain since April of last year. Builders cited market conditions, higher material and labor costs, as well as higher land development costs.

Calgary, which has been hurt by the drop in oil prices, rose 0.1 percent as higher land prices offset builders having to reduce their prices to encourage buyers into the market.

The new housing price index excludes apartments and condominiums, which accounts for one-third of new housing.

Canada's financial authorities have spoken of a three-speed housing situation, with Toronto and Vancouver sizzling, the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan suffering due to low oil prices, and the rest of Canada relatively stagnant.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr and Randall Palmer Editing by W Simon)