UPDATE 1-Canadian Sept home sales rise as Toronto gains; Vancouver cools

Fri Oct 14, 2016 10:57am EDT
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(Adds details from report, background; changes dateline, previous TORONTO)

By Leah Schnurr

OTTAWA Oct 14 (Reuters) - Sales of existing Canadian homes edged up in September after four months of declines, driven by gains in the hot market of Toronto, while Vancouver continued to cool following a tax on foreign home buyers.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said sales were up 0.8 percent last month from August, with regional markets split.

Sales rose in the Toronto region and fell further around the lower mainland of British Columbia, extending a recent trend.

Low borrowing costs have propelled Canada's housing market since the financial crisis, but surging prices in Toronto and Vancouver have fueled concerns about a potential housing bubble.

In a bid to address affordability issues for residents, British Columbia imposed a tax on foreign buyers in Vancouver in August.

Data has suggested that market was already slowing before the tax, and Friday's report showed September sales were down 1.7 percent in Vancouver. Compared to a year ago, sales slumped 32.7 percent.

"We're continuing to see the B.C. markets, and Vancouver in particular, cooling," said Robert Hogue, senior economist at Royal Bank of Canada. "So we were concerned about overheating, I think is being addressed."   Continued...