Canada home prices rise in January, Toronto up for first time in six months

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

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian home prices rose in January, supported by continued gains in Vancouver and as prices in Toronto climbed for the first time in six months after being hurt by provincial government moves to cool the market, data showed on Wednesday.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices rose 0.3 percent in January from a month earlier.

But on a year-over-year basis, the pace of gains continued to decelerate. Compared to last January, prices were up 8.7 percent, the smallest 12-month rise since May 2016.

The monthly advance came as just four out of 11 cities surveyed saw price gains, the first time in two years that the index has had such small breadth, the report said.

Vancouver led the way, rising 1.2 percent to a fresh peak. It was the second consecutive increase for Vancouver, the country’s most expensive housing market.

Toronto edged up 0.2 percent, driven entirely by higher costs for condominiums, Teranet said. The Ontario government last year implemented a number of measures, including a foreign buyers tax, to rein in prices in Toronto and the surrounding area, though other data have suggested prices are stabilizing.

In Vancouver, where the provincial government implemented its own foreign buyers tax in 2016, gains in condo prices have outpaced those of other types of residences over the past nine months. Condos prices surged 18.2 percent during that time, compared to a 11.4 percent gain for other homes.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum