April 12, 2019 / 12:34 PM / a year ago

Canada home prices drop in March for sixth straight month - Teranet

OTTAWA, April 12 (Reuters) - Canadian home prices fell in March for the sixth straight month as most major markets weakened, data showed on Thursday.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices fell 0.3 percent last month from February.

It was just the second March decline in the index’s 20-year history - the only other March fall was in 2009 amid a recession during the global financial crisis, Marc Pinsonneault, senior economist at National Bank of Canada, said in a news release.

Prices fell in seven of the 11 markets in the index, led by a 1.5 percent drop in the capital region of Ottawa-Gatineau. In Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city, prices were down 1.1 percent, with Vancouver prices down 0.5 percent.

Canada’s once-hot housing market has softened since the start of last year, as tighter mortgage rules and five interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada since July 2017 have curbed buyer spending power.

Prices rose 1.5 percent in March on an annual basis, led by a 5.5 percent increase in Montreal and a 5.2 percent increase in Ottawa-Gatineau. (Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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