Canada September housing prices flat, 29-month growth streak ends

Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:44am EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The prices of new houses in Canada were unchanged in September from August, breaking a 29-month streak of consecutive increases, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

Analysts had expected a 0.1 percent advance. The last time prices were flat was in March 2011.

The western energy-rich province of Alberta was largely responsible for the lack of overall growth, Statscan said. Prices rose 0.5 percent in Calgary but fell by 0.4 percent in Edmonton.

New housing prices grew 1.6 percent from September 2012, the smallest year-on-year increase since the 0.9 percent recorded in February 2010.

The Canadian government, which imposed tighter mortgage rules in July, and the Bank of Canada have long expressed concerns the housing market might overheat.

Ottawa will clamp down again on the housing market if necessary to prevent a bubble forming, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Tuesday.

The new housing price index excludes condominiums, which the government says are a particular cause for concern. Of the 21 metropolitan areas surveyed in September, prices rose in six, fell in four and were unchanged in 11.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Builders work on the the roof of a new home under construction in the Montreal suburb of Brossard, August 10, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best