By Andrea Hopkins
TORONTO Feb 20 Canadian home prices fell for
the fifth month in a row in January from December and the
year-over-year price gain was the smallest since 2009 as the
housing market continued to cool.
The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which
measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes,
showed on Wednesday that overall prices fell 0.3 percent in
January from a month earlier.
The index was up 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the
smallest year-on-year gain since November 2009 and the 14th
consecutive month of slowing house price inflation.
The report added to evidence that Canadian housing market
activity has been slowing since the middle of 2012. Economists
are debating whether the market will crash or manage a soft
Canada's housing market avoided a meltdown after the
financial crisis in 2009, helped by conservative lending
standards and ultra-low interest rates.
But Canadian housing is swooning just as the U.S. market
shows signs of recovery, in part because Canada's Conservative
government last year tightened mortgage lending rules to slow
the red-hot housing market.
The latest report showed prices dropped in January from
December in seven of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed, led
by a 1.1 percent drop in Hamilton, a 0.8 percent decline in
Vancouver and a 0.7 percent fall in Edmonton. Prices fell 0.4
percent in Toronto, 0.3 percent in Winnipeg, 0.2 percent in
Montreal and 0.1 percent in Calgary.
Prices were up 1.4 percent in Quebec City and Victoria, 1.7
percent in Halifax, and 0.5 percent in Ottawa-Gatineau.
Year-on-year prices dropped 2.5 percent in Vancouver, but
all of the other markets surveyed showed prices were still
higher than a year ago.
Compared with January 2012, prices were 6.6 percent higher
in Halifax, 6.0 percent higher in Quebec City, 5.9 percent
higher in Hamilton, 5.3 percent higher in Toronto, 4.3 percent
higher in Calgary, 3.4 percent higher in Winnipeg, 2.7 percent
higher in Ottawa, 2.6 percent higher in Montreal, 2.0 percent
higher in Edmonton and 1.1 percent higher in Victoria.