UPDATE 1-Canada housing prices rise past expectations in July

Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:38am EDT
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* New housing price index rises 0.2 pct in July

* Prices gain 1.9 percent vs year

OTTAWA, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The price of new homes in Canada grew by 0.2 percent in July from June for the second straight month, led by increases in the Toronto-Oshawa region and the nation's oil capital Calgary, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

The gain beat market expectations for a 0.1 percent climb. Prices in July were 1.9 percent higher than the same month in 2012.

New house prices in Calgary climbed 0.6 percent in the month and a hefty 5.8 percent in the 12-month period, the biggest year-on-year price movement in that city since December 2007.

In Toronto-Oshawa, prices rose 0.3 percent and 2.6 percent in the month and year, respectively.

Overall, prices rose in 10 cities, fell in six and were unchanged in five.

The Canadian government, which imposed tighter mortgage rules in July 2012, and the Bank of Canada have long expressed concerns the housing market might overheat. The government's intervention helped slow real estate activity late last year but data from recent months has renewed concerns among some analysts about a potential bubble.

The new housing price index excludes condominiums, which the government has said are a particular cause for concern.