January 12, 2018 / 1:56 PM / 2 years ago

December Canada home prices perk up after three-month decline: Teranet

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian home prices rose in December after three consecutive months of declines, lifted by an increase in Vancouver even as prices in Toronto continued to fall, data showed on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Rooftops of houses in the Kitsilano neighbourhood and the downtown core are seen in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada January 7, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices rose 0.2 last month from November.

Still, prices rose in just five out of the 11 cities surveyed, boosted by a 1.3 percent increase in Vancouver, Canada’s most expensive housing market.

The city, which implemented a foreign buyers tax in 2016, has seen prices rise for the last eight months, driven by demand for condominiums.

In Toronto, where sales were dampened last year by provincial government moves to cool the market, prices slipped 0.3 percent, the fifth month of declines.

But there were signs that tighter mortgage rules that came into force at the start of 2018 brought buyers off the sidelines, with the raw index for Toronto prices up 0.1 percent in December, the report said.

Teranet normally smoothes out month-to-month fluctuations in its indexes by using a moving average of the past three months.

Nationally, prices were up 9.1 percent on the year, a slight dip from the 9.2 percent annual increase seen in November.

Years of cheap mortgage costs following the global financial crisis have raised concerns some Canadians have taken on too much housing debt and economists are watching to see how borrowers adjust to both the tighter lending rules and higher interest rates.

The Bank of Canada raised rates twice last year and is expected to continue to tighten in 2018.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Diane Craft

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