March 15, 2016 / 1:13 PM / 4 years ago

Vancouver, Toronto drive Canadian house prices higher

A "For Sale" sign stands in front of a home that has been sold in Toronto, Canada, June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Sales of existing Canadian homes rose 0.8 percent in February from the prior month, with price hikes in Vancouver and Toronto pulling the national average higher, a report from the Canadian Real Estate Association showed on Tuesday.

The industry group said its Canadian home price index was up 8.5 percent in the month from a year earlier, its largest gain since June 2010, while actual sales not seasonally adjusted rose 18.7 percent from February 2015.

The national average sale price rose 16.4 percent on a year-over-year basis, but excluding British Columbia and Ontario it declined by 1.4 percent.

“Two of Canada’s hottest housing markets look set to stay that way heading into the spring home buying season,” CREA’s president, Pauline Aunger, said in a statement. “Meanwhile, other major urban markets elsewhere in Canada are well balanced or have ample supply.”

The number of newly listed homes edged up 0.5 percent in February from January, pushed higher by listings around Vancouver and Toronto, while listings declined in Calgary, Montreal, and central Toronto.

The average price of a Canadian home sold in February, not seasonally adjusted, was C$503,057 ($376,793.50). Excluding Vancouver and Toronto, the average was C$355,235.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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