(Adds background and data for Toronto and Vancouver)
* Monthly price rise exceeds expected 0.1 pct gain
* Yearly gains have been in 1 to 2 pct range in past year
* Key Toronto and Vancouver areas are tame
OTTAWA, April 10 (Reuters) - The price of new Canadian homes rose 0.2 percent in February from January, topping expectations of a 0.1 percent gain after January’s 0.3 percent increase, according to Statistics Canada data on Thursday.
Year on year, prices were up by a tame 1.5 percent, remaining in the range of 1 to 2 percent registered over the past year.
The Canadian government intervened in the mortgage market several times since 2008 to cool the sector, but has not voiced as much concern lately about the possibility of overheating. The new housing price index excludes condominiums, which the government had said were especially of concern.
Two of the metropolitan areas that had caused authorities particular concern showed moderate increases or outright declines. The Toronto/Oshawa region was up 0.2 percent from January and 1.7 percent from a year earlier; Vancouver was unchanged on the month and down 1.2 percent on the year.
The Alberta oil town of Calgary was up 0.9 percent from January and 6.9 percent from February 2013.
Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Nick Zieminski