UPDATE 1-Canada new home prices rise 0.1 percent in May

Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:35am EDT

(Adds details of release, background)

OTTAWA, July 10 (Reuters) - The prices of new homes in Canada rose by 0.1 percent in May from April, pushed higher by strength in the western Prairie region, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

The increase was less than the 0.2 percent advance forecast by market operators. On a year-over-year basis, prices grew by 1.5 percent compared to 1.6 percent in April.

Prices in the Alberta city of Calgary, the capital of Canada's energy region, jumped 0.8 percent from April, on higher material, labor and land costs.

Elsewhere in Alberta, prices in the provincial capital Edmonton rose by 0.3 percent. In neighboring Saskatchewan, also in the west of Canada, new home prices in the city of Regina increased by 0.4 percent.

The Canadian federal government, which has intervened in the mortgage market several times since 2008 to cool the sector, has long expressed concerns the housing market might overheat, though it thinks a soft landing is more likely.

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

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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