February 12, 2016 / 2:46 PM / in 2 years

Canadian home prices down 0.1 percent in January: Teranet

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian home prices edged down in January for a second month in a row, falling in seven cities, including what has been the hot market of Toronto, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Friday.

Houses are seen in a suburb located north of Toronto in Vaughan, Canada, June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed national home prices dipped 0.1 percent in January from a month earlier.

A decline in January has only happened three times in 17 years, the report said. Prices were still up 5.9 percent from a year earlier, though that was the smallest annual increase in three months.

David Madani, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, expects that the pace of annual home price gains will ease further in the coming months.

“The high rate of house price inflation at the national level continues to mask corrections that have long been underway in regions hit directly by the oil price shock,” wrote in a note.

Indeed, on a monthly basis, the energy-sensitive city of Calgary was down for a fourth consecutive month, with prices falling 0.7 percent.

Overall, prices were down in seven of the 11 metropolitan markets covered in the survey. For Toronto, which was down 0.2 percent, it was the first decline in 11 months.

Canada has seen a strong housing market in the years since the global financial crisis, helped by low interest rates. The recent drop in oil prices has taken some strength out of the economy and resulted in a three-speed housing market, where energy cities are slowing, the major cities of Vancouver and Toronto have been climbing and the rest of the country has largely been steady.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum and W Simon

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