July 9, 2015 / 12:45 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto spurs modest rise in Canadian new house prices

(Adds background on three-speed market, declines in some cities)

OTTAWA, July 9 (Reuters) - New home prices rose by a greater-than-expected 0.2 percent in May from April, spurred by a 0.5 percent rise in the hot housing market of Toronto, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

The median forecast in a Reuters survey of analysts was for a 0.1 percent increase. Despite the rise, new houses were still only 1.2 percent higher than May 2014.

The new housing price index excludes apartments and condominiums, which account for one-third of new housing.

Canada’s financial authorities have spoken of a three-speed housing situation, with Toronto and Vancouver sizzling, the oil areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan suffering due to low oil prices, and the rest of Canada relatively stagnant.

Actual declines in new home prices were registered in several cities in May in central and eastern Canada, including Quebec and Montreal. Those two cities, along with Ottawa, Regina, Victoria and a cluster of cities in New Brunswick, have also seen year-on-year declines.

Reporting by Randall Palmer Editing by W Simon

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