OTTAWA (Reuters) - The price of new houses in Canada unexpectedly rose in July for the first monthly increase since September 2008, a sign the housing market may be improving as the economy emerges from recession.
Statistics Canada said prices rose 0.3 percent in July from June and that prices were down 3.2 percent compared with a year earlier.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected a 0.1 percent drop in prices in the month.
Monthly prices rose most in the cities of Vancouver, Hamilton, Windsor and Calgary. Prices softened the most in the Western Canadian city of Victoria, where housing costs had spiked dramatically prior to the economic slump.
* Statistics Canada report
Reporting by Louise Egan, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama