UPDATE 1-Canada new home price index unexpectedly rises in Feb

Thu Apr 9, 2015 8:37am EDT
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(Adds details from report)

OTTAWA, April 9 (Reuters) - New home prices in Canada rose 0.2 percent in February, recovering from the previous month's decline as prices climbed in the Toronto area, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

Economists had expected the home price index to be unchanged.

The combined region of Toronto and Oshawa was the top contributor, with prices up 0.3 percent. Improved market conditions and prices on new listings drove the increase, though that growth was offset as some builders offered promotional packages to boost sales.

Prices were unchanged in nine of the 21 metropolitan areas included in the index, including Calgary.

New home prices were up 1.4 percent compared to February of last year, matching the year-over-year pace of price gains seen in January.

The new housing price index excludes apartments and condominiums, which the government says are a particular cause for concern and which account for one-third of new housing.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum)