UPDATE 1-Canada new home prices rise in Oct, lifted by Toronto

Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:40am EST
 
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OTTAWA Dec 10 (Reuters) - New home prices in Canada rose more than expected in October, led by more expensive prices in the Toronto area's robust housing market, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

Prices rose 0.3 percent, exceeding economists' forecasts for a slight gain of 0.1 percent. The Toronto and Oshawa region was the largest contributor to the increase, rising 0.5 percent as builders cited market conditions and the higher cost of land.

National prices were up 1.5 percent compared to last October, the largest year-over-year increase since December 2014. The Toronto and Oshawa market saw its biggest annual gain since January 2013 with a gain of 4.0 percent.

Prices were unchanged for the third month in a row in Calgary, which has seen prices fall in the last year amid the slump in oil.

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.

The ongoing increase in home prices, especially in the hot markets of Toronto and Vancouver, has raised concerns over whether Canadians have taken on more debt than they can handle, spurred by years of low interest rates.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing Nick Zieminski)