UPDATE 1-Canada new housing prices up more than expected in April

Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:40am EDT
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* New housing prices +0.2 pct from March; forecast +0.1 pct

* Year on year, price rise stays at 2.0 pct

* Government has intervened to cool housing market

OTTAWA, June 13 (Reuters) - The price of new homes rose 0.2 percent in April from March, more than the expected 0.1 percent, with the oil town of Calgary the top contributor, according to Statistics Canada data released on Thursday.

Nonetheless, the year-over-year rise stayed at the relatively tame 2.0 percent that had been registered in March. The rise in annual prices has been getting smaller since the start of 2013. March's monthly gain was 0.1 percent.

Canada's government and central bank have long expressed concern about overheating in the housing market and the associated rise of household debt to record highs.

Ottawa has tightened mortgage rules several times and since the latest intervention in mid-2012, the housing market has shown signs of cooling and the household debt-to-income ratio has stabilized. The new housing price index excludes condominiums, a particular concern to policy makers.

The once-hot markets of Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia showed a monthly gain of 0.1 percent but were down 0.6 percent and 1.5 percent year on year, respectively. The Toronto-Oshawa region, which has the biggest weighting, was up 0.1 percent on the month and 2.9 percent on the year.