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OTTAWA (Reuters) - New housing prices in Canada fell 0.7 percent in February from January and were down 1.8 percent from a year earlier, the largest year-on-year decrease since 1996, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
Analysts in a Reuters survey had predicted a 0.5 percent downturn in prices.
February was the second straight month in which prices declined year-on-year.
Prices fell the most in Western Canada where the real estate market had heated up considerably, with the biggest decreases in Edmonton, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Victoria and Calgary.
Canada's housing downturn has hit starts, prices and sales but has been slower and less dramatic than that in the United States.
* Statistics Canada report
Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by James Dalgleish