July 27, 2011 / 3:18 PM / 6 years ago

Home price index rises for sixth month in May

TORONTO (Reuters) - Home resale prices in Canada notched their biggest monthly rise in May since last July, according to the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index released on Wednesday.

<p>A sign points to a home for sale in a new subdivision in Vancouver, Washington, April 25, 2006. REUTERS/Richard Clement</p>

The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes in six metropolitan areas, showed overall prices were up 1.3 percent in May from April, the second straight monthly gain of 1 percent or more. It was also the sixth straight monthly gain.

Vancouver and Toronto, already expensive markets, were the price-gain leaders, up 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

The Vancouver market was especially heated in the spring as buyers tried to get in ahead of the implementation of tougher mortgage rules in mid-March.

Time lags between the actual home sales and their entry into public land registries may account for the large gains in April and May after the mortgage rules were already in effect, the report said.

“This spike in activity is now behind us. Therefore, the recent large monthly rises in home prices in Canada should not be a lasting trend,” said Marc Pinsonneault, senior economist at National Bank Financial.

Data from the Canadian Real Estate Association for June showed slowing sales in Vancouver and a trend toward slower sales nationally.

Economists at TD Bank and Royal Bank of Canada have recently forecast cooler housing markets over the next year or two, a view that is widely held by market watchers as the stricter mortgage rules and the anticipation of higher interest rates dampen demand.

Other Canadian markets in the Teranet index registered strength in May. Montreal prices rose 0.7 percent from April and Ottawa was up 0.5 percent. Calgary prices were up 0.6 percent, and Halifax eked out a 0.1 percent rise in the month.

Overall prices were up 4.4 percent from a year earlier.

The report did not provide actual prices.

Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Peter Galloway

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