TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian home prices fell in December from a month earlier, their second consecutive monthly decline, 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 national home prices fell 0.2 percent last month.
Prices ended 2014 up 4.9 percent from a year earlier, up from gains of 3.8 percent in 2013 and 3.1 percent in 2012, as historically low mortgage rates last year stimulated demand.
Canada escaped the U.S. housing crash that accompanied the 2008-09 financial crisis, and home prices have risen sharply, if not steadily, over the past five years despite the federal government’s moves to tighten mortgage lending rules.
Economists expect the housing market to slow as interest rates rise in 2015, with starts and sales declining but prices continuing to tick higher, albeit at a slower rate.
The Teranet data showed prices fell in December from the month before in five out of 11 cities.
The monthly slump was led by declines of 1.9 percent in Halifax, 1.1 percent in Calgary and 1.0 percent in Quebec City. Prices fell 0.9 percent in Montreal and 0.4 percent in Vancouver.
Prices were flat in Victoria and Winnipeg.
Four markets showed price gains - 0.3 percent in Toronto, 0.2 percent in Edmonton, and 0.1 percent in Hamilton and Ottawa.
But on a year-over-year basis, nine of the 11 cities ended 2014 with price gains.
On that basis, prices were up 8.3 percent in Calgary, 7.8 percent in Hamilton, 7.2 percent in Toronto, 5.8 percent in Edmonton, 5.0 percent in Vancouver, 3.2 percent in Victoria, 1.5 percent in Winnipeg, 0.3 percent in Montreal and 0.1 percent in Ottawa.
Prices were down 0.8 percent in Quebec City and 2.5 percent in Halifax.
Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn