UPDATE 1-Canadian home prices rise in June, pace of growth increases

Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:13am EDT
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(Adds regional details)

By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO, July 14 (Reuters) - Canadian home prices rose to a record high in June from a month ago, the sixth consecutive monthly increase, and were up strongly from a year ago as Toronto and Vancouver held momentum, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Tuesday.

The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed national home prices rose 1.4 percent last month from May.

Prices were up 5.1 percent from a year earlier, an acceleration from May, powered by an 8.5 percent year-over-year gain in Vancouver and a 7.8 percent rise in Toronto prices.

The two cities, which represent about 54 percent of the house price index, have defied predictions for a slowdown even as other cities have cooled. A spring slowdown in the energy capital of Calgary reversed in June, though lower oil prices have hurt the economy there and housing is past its peak price.

Prices rose in June from May in 7 of 11 major markets, with prices falling 0.4 percent in Halifax, 0.5 percent in Quebec City and 0.3 percent in Winnipeg. Prices were flat in Edmonton.

While analysts have long expected Canada's housing strength to fade, a drop in mortgage rates early in the year has supported demand, and interest rates are expected to stay lower for longer than previously expected as the Bank of Canada grapples with a sluggish economy outside of housing.

Leading the monthly gains were Victoria at 2.6 percent, Hamilton and Calgary at 2.5 percent, and Ottawa and Toronto at 1.6 percent. Vancouver prices rose 1.2 percent, while prices were 0.8 percent higher in Montreal.

From a year earlier, only one market showed a price decline, with Montreal down 0.4 percent. Most markets are past their peak, however, with the exception of Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton.

"The resale market in those three centers is a seller's market according to the Canadian Real Estate Association's criterion of sales relative to new listings," the report noted. (Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Meredith Mazzilli)