UPDATE 1-Canadian home prices rose 0.7 pct in July from June -Teranet

Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:44am EDT
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO Aug 14 (Reuters) - Canadian home prices rose in July from June to an all-time high, but the modest monthly gain suggests the robust housing market may be cooling again, according to data from the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index on Wednesday.

The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed overall prices rose 0.7 percent in July from a month earlier, the fifth straight monthly gain but on the low side of typical summer housing strength.

The index was up just 1.9 percent from a year earlier. Though this was a slight acceleration from June, the 12-month gains of these two months were the smallest since November 2009, the report said.

The report echoes data on both sales activity and prices that suggest Canada's housing market has recovered well after the government tightened mortgage rules in July 2012, causing a sharp slowdown in demand in the second half of 2012.

While some economists still predict a U.S.-style crash, a spring recovery in sales has led some to believe Canada has achieved a soft landing.

"Home prices have rebounded in tandem with the surge in existing home sales in the spring. But despite the nascent recovery in the housing market in recent months - which reflects the typical dynamic of a temporary slowing following the introduction of tighter mortgage regulations - we believe that further upside in prices will be limited," Mazen Issa, Canada Macro Strategist at TD Securities, said in a research note.

He said the recent rise in mortgage rates will reduce affordability, limiting sales and slowing the rate of price rises over the rest of 2013 and into 2014.   Continued...