UPDATE 1-Canadian home prices inch higher in October -Teranet

Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:05am EST
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO Nov 13 (Reuters) - Canadian home prices edged higher in October from the month before but the gain was lower than average, suggesting the market is cooler than usual, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Wednesday.

The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed overall prices rose 0.1 percent last month from September. The average October monthly gain over 15 years of data has been 0.2 percent, Teranet said.

The index was up 3.1 percent on an annual basis, an acceleration from September's 2.7 percent price appreciation and well above the trough of 1.8 percent in June.

The report echoes data on both sales activity and prices that suggest Canada's housing market has cooled after a strong spring and summer.

Economists are divided over whether the market has achieved a soft landing after years of roaring ahead, or if it will still undergo a sharp price correction similar to the U.S. housing crash. Mortgage rates remain near historic lows and are not expected to rise much as long as official interest rates are held low to stimulate the economy.

"For as long as the Bank of Canada remains on the sidelines - which we now expect until H2-2015 - the risk of an adverse development in Canadian housing is limited," Mazen Issa, a Canada macro strategist at TD Securities, said in a research note.

"Taken in tandem with the fading impact of tighter mortgage regulations, the outlook for housing over the near-term is expected to remain benign."   Continued...