UPDATE 1-Canada new housing prices up 0.2 percent on strength in Calgary

Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:44am EDT

* New housing prices increase for 23rd consecutive month

* Western energy city of Calgary biggest reason for rise

OTTAWA, April 11 (Reuters) - New home prices in Canada rose by 0.2 percent in February, the 23rd consecutive month-on-month increase, pushed up by a buoyant market in the western city of Calgary, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

The advance matched analysts' expectations. Calgary prices rose 1.0 percent from January - the largest month-over-month increase since May 2007 - on higher material and labor costs. Calgary is the center of Canada's booming energy industry.

Overall, prices rose in 10 cities, stayed unchanged in nine and fell in two. On a year-over-year basis new housing prices in Canada rose by 2.1 percent in February, down from 2.2 percent in January.

The Canadian government, which imposed tighter mortgage rules last July, and the Bank of Canada have long expressed concerns the housing market might overheat.

The new housing price index excludes condominiums, which the government says are a particular cause for concern.

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