February 12, 2015 / 1:48 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Canada new housing prices rise 0.1 pct in Dec

OTTAWA, Feb 12 (Reuters) - New home prices in Canada rose by 0.1 percent for the fourth month in a row in December, driven by gains in the greater Toronto region, data published by Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

The increase was in line with economists’ forecasts. The Toronto and Oshawa region was the top contributor, with prices rising 0.2 percent, though the gains were partially offset by builders offering bonus packages to spur sales.

Prices edged up 0.1 percent in Calgary as builders saw higher material and labor costs. It was the smallest gain since December 2013 for the city that is heavily tied to the energy sector.

Still, Calgary saw the biggest increase over the course of the year with prices up 6.5 percent. For Canada overall, prices were up 1.7 percent compared to December 2013.

The new housing price index excludes apartments and condominiums, which the government says are a particular cause for concern and which account for one-third of new housing.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Alden Bentley

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