* Prices down in December from November in 8 of 11 markets
* Fourth straight monthly decline
* Prices up 3.1 percent from a year ago, lowest rate in 3
By Andrea Hopkins
TORONTO, Jan 23 Canadian home prices fell in
December from November and year-over-year price gains were the
lowest in three years as Canada's housing market continued to
cool, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index
showed on Wednesday.
The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of
single-family homes, showed overall prices fell 0.4 percent in
December from a month earlier, the fourth straight monthly
decline, a first outside of a recession, and the fourth December
monthly decline in 13 years of data.
The index was up 3.1 percent from a year earlier, the 13th
consecutive month of deceleration in 12-month inflation and the
lowest rate in three years.
The report adds to recent evidence that Canadian housing
market activity has been slowing steadily since the middle of
2012. Economists are now debating whether the market will crash
or manage a soft landing.
Canada's housing market avoided a meltdown in the wake of
the financial crisis in 2009, helped by the country's
conservative lending standards. Ultra-low interest rates then
helped fuel a post-crisis boom.
Canadian housing is now swooning just as the U.S. market is
showing some signs of a long-awaited recovery.
Canada's Conservative government last year tightened
mortgage lending rules to make it harder for home buyers to take
on too much debt in a bid to slow the nation's red-hot housing
market. The changes, which took effect in July, were the fourth
such move in four years.
The report showed prices dropped in December from November
in eight of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed, led by a 1.0
percent drop in Vancouver, a 0.9 percent decline in Calgary and
a 0.7 percent decrease in Halifax and Winnipeg. Prices slid 0.3
percent in Toronto and Montreal and 0.1 percent in Edmonton and
Three cities saw price gains in the month. Prices rose 1.7
percent in Quebec City and 0.9 percent in Victoria and Hamilton.
Year-on-year prices dropped 2.0 percent in Vancouver, which
had the hottest housing market prior to the slowdown. Prices in
Victoria were flat compared to a year earlier.
All of the other markets surveyed showed prices were still
higher than a year ago.
Compared with December 2011, prices were 7.4 percent higher
in Hamilton, 6.3 percent higher in Toronto, 5.6 percent higher
in Halifax, 4.2 percent higher in Quebec, 4.1 percent higher in
Calgary, up 3.9 percent in Winnipeg, up 3.0 percent in Montreal,
2.6 percent higher in Ottawa, 1.5 percent higher in Edmonton.