TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian home prices dipped in October from September and year-over-year price gains slowed for the 11th straight month in yet another sign Canada’s hot housing market has cooled, 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 fell 0.2 percent in October from a month earlier, only the third October drop in 13 years of data.
“Today’s report provides additional evidence that macroprudential regulations are helping to slow housing demand and is consistent with last week’s existing-home sales report,” Mazen Issa, Canada Macro Strategist at TD Securities said in a research note.
With further moderation in the housing market expected into the end of the year and into 2013, Issa said the pressure for hawkish monetary policy continues to ease.
“With tighter mortgage regulations proving to be effective thus far, the Bank of Canada will have slightly more breathing room to stay on the sidelines and observe how key global events unfold in the very near-term,” he wrote.
The long run-up in Canadian house prices and low supply in some markets had sparked concern a housing bubble was forming. The federal government has tightened mortgage lending rules four times in four years to try to prevent borrowers from taking on too much debt to buy into the market.
Those tighter lending rules have been offset by historically low interest rates, which are expected to stay low into 2013.
The report showed prices were down on the month in seven of 11 urban markets surveyed. Prices fell 0.9 percent in Quebec City, 0.6 percent in Victoria and Toronto, 0.4 percent in Ottawa, 0.3 percent in Montreal, 0.2 percent in Calgary and 0.1 percent in Halifax.
Prices were up 0.1 percent in Vancouver, 0.3 percent in Edmonton and 0.4 percent in Hamilton. Prices were flat in October from September in Winnipeg.
The report is the latest in a string of data suggesting that an extended Canadian upswing in house sales and prices is coming to an end.
With cooling evident in several major cities, speculation has turned to whether the slowdown will be a soft landing or a crash.
The index was up 3.4 percent from a year earlier, the 11th consecutive month of deceleration in 12-month inflation, but twelve-month price changes varied widely, illustrating that some markets are cooling faster than others, and some are still hot.
Year-over-year price changes included an 8.9 percent increase in Halifax, a 7.2 percent gain in Hamilton, a 6.4 percent rise in Toronto, a 5.9 percent rise in Winnipeg, a 3.6 percent rise in Montreal, a 3.5 percent gain in Calgary, a 2.6 percent increase in Quebec City and Edmonton, and a 2.5 percent gain in Ottawa.
Prices were down from a year earlier in Vancouver and Victoria, by 1.0 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
Editing by Kenneth Barry